Barclays Ventures fuels Bifold sale

The small mid-market buyouts arm of UK banking giant Barclays Bank has sold its holding in Bifold FluidPower, a Manchester-based oil and gas valve manufacturer, in a £35m MBO backed by Bank of Scotland Integrated Finance.

The deal sees the management team, led by managing director Gary Jacobson, increase their majority equity stake with BoS taking a minority interest. As part of the integrated debt and equity package provided is an acquisition finance facility which will allow the company to make purchases as it continues its growth in the oil and gas market.

Frank Summers, director of integrated finance at Bank of Scotland, said: “With an experienced management team boasting a proven track record of delivery, Bifold has a very strong position in a niche market that shows excellent growth prospects. Our experience in investing in the oil and gas sector means that we are well positioned to support the growth of UK based oil and gas services companies operating on a global stage.”

Barclays Ventures backed the original MBO of Bifold in 2002, and its sale is the firm’s second exit of 2007. In March it sold SFS Fire Services, the UK’s largest independent fixed fire protection business, to UTC Fire & Security for an undisclosed sum. It was acquired by Barclays in September 2006 as part of an £18.5m management buyout. The sale generated a 3.5x return and an IRR of over 140%.

The firm has made two investments so far this year: it parted with £4.1m in a £21m MBO of Christy, a designer, importer and distributor of children’s dress-up costumes; and it backed the MBO of F Bender, a manufacturer of paper catering products.