Owen Trotter, managing partner of Key Capital Partners
Private equity house Key Capital Partners (KCP) is celebrating a record-breaking year having completed four deals worth a total of £28m in 2017.
With offices in Leeds and London, this is the latest in a string of investments the firm has made in growing SMEs nationwide.
A leading investor in the underserved smaller buy-out market, KCP specialises in working with profitable SMEs with potential for growth.
Typically, the firm makes investments of between £3m to £15m and has highly experienced partners who are able to advise the management teams of its portfolio businesses, helping them to realise their expansion ambitions.
Following a period of fundraising and successful exits, KCP’s investment activities have been gaining momentum over the last year, and a total of £35m has now been invested from its latest fund since its launch in 2015.
KCP’s 2017 investments include York-based food intolerance testing business Yorktest Laboratories; online building supplies firm Construction Materials Online (CMO) in Plymouth; London-based independent performance media agency, MC&C; and Sparta Global in London, an innovative provider of specialist IT Services.
In 2016, KCP invested in Northern domiciliary healthcare business Routes Healthcare.
“With a strong track record of growing SMEs, together with our in-depth knowledge of a diverse range of sectors, we have seen some great opportunities.
“Our process involves getting to know the business and management really well before we invest, and making sure the deal is right for everyone involved.
“We believe that the companies in which we have invested in 2017 have real potential for value creation.”
Mr Trotter continues: “As well as injecting vital capital, we work closely with management teams to help drive business strategy, bringing about sustained growth and job creation and also generating a healthy return for our investors.
“It is encouraging to see that there remains a large number of SMEs throughout the UK which, while profitable, offer further hidden value which can be released given crucial capital and the right expertise, and that gives us a strong pipeline of further investment opportunities.
“With a total of £140m of funds currently under management, this year we will be continuing to make more significant investments in high growth businesses across the UK.”
Some of KCP’s successful exits include York-based Gear4Music which experienced tremendous growth following the firm’s investment in 2012.
KCP sold its remaining stake in the business in 2016 achieving a five-fold return having helped the online musical instruments retailer become a £55m turnover operation.
Another of KCP’s portfolio businesses, leading school meals specialist Alliance in Partnership (
Mike Colling, founder & chief executive of MC&C, one of KCP’s most recent investments, said: “KCP are very supportive investors – they have a depth of experience working with SMEs to help them double in size and, while taking an active interest in the business, they empower management to get on with the job.
“They’re good guys to work with and provide a valuable external perspective.”