LGV Capital acquires caravan manufacturer ABI (UK) Group

Posted on 17 Nov 2011 by The Manufacturer

Livingstone, the corporate finance advisory firm, has sold ABI (UK) Group to LGV Capital, the private equity firm though  the exact value of the multimillion pound deal remains undisclosed.

The Yorkshire-based caravan manufacturer employs around 300 people, selling to holiday park operators across the country. It is the second largest manufacturer of caravan holiday homes in the country.

LGV have said that the current management team at ABI will stay. This means that Mel Cooper continues as chief executive, backed up by a management team of Richard Jones, Dean Hague, Paul Clackstone and Stephen Hardaker.

ABI’s chief executive, Mel Copper said: “The board of ABI is pleased to announce the purchase of the entire issued share capital of ABI by LGV Capital and the Company’s management team. For our partners, Barclays Ventures, it provides a successful cash exit and gives LGV, who already have a sound knowledge of our industry, an opportunity to invest in a leading manufacturer. Our management have invested in the acquiring vehicle and are aiming to continue to develop the business and maintain its position as one of the leading caravan holiday home manufacturers”.

Graham Carberry, director, Livingstone commented: “We are delighted to have been involved in this deal, which has delivered an excellent result for all parties. The Barclays Ventures team has secured another strong return while LGV Capital has captured a great business with a great management team and a great future.”

Speaking directly to TM, Carberry added: “There are no plans to reduce jobs – the industry is cyclical but management are focused on long-term organic growth driven from the Beverley, Yorkshire site.”

Commenting on the investment, Zoe Clements, director at LGV, said: “We are delighted to have completed the investment in ABI. ABI is one of the leading caravan holiday home manufacturers in the UK, with relationships with all the major caravan park operators. We are backing an excellent management team with a proven track record of managing the business through the economic cycle.

“This will be LGV’s third investment in the caravan sector.  We first invested in the sector with Bourne Leisure in 1997 and then supported the management team in their acquisition of the Rank Holiday business in 2000, culminating in a successful exit in 2004.  In 2006 we returned to the sector, backing the management buy-out of South Lakeland Parks, a caravan and lodge park owner, based in the Lake District. We exited this in 2007 and generated a good return for LGV”.