ECI Tops Fundraising Target on New Fund

ECI Partners, a middle market buyout firm based in the UK, has topped the fundraising target on a new fund. It secured $641 million (£430 million) for the effort, which is called ECI 9.
Press Release

ECI Partners (“ECI”), a leading UK mid-market buy out specialist, has held the first and final close of its new fund, ECI 9, just 3 months after its launch in what is generally agreed to be a challenging environment for fund raising.

ECI’s track record, investment model and its experience of investing through multiple cycles allowed it to close its ninth fund above the £400m target at £430m. ECI’s previous fund, ECI 8, closed on £255m in April 2005.

Funding was received from a total of 27 investors/advisors, with over 90% raised from existing investors in prior ECI funds, reflecting the continuing attractiveness of its investment strategy, track record and heritage. The investors are geographically split between the US, UK and Continental Europe with two Asian Limited Partners. As with previous ECI funds, the investor base contains a broad mix of pension funds, insurance companies, funds of funds, endowments and family offices. Over a million UK pensioners are represented by funds directly investing in ECI funds.

ECI continues to maintain its focused investment strategy, targeting attractive niche market leading businesses with the capacity to grow significantly. ECI 9 will invest in buyouts, buy-ins and development capital transactions with an enterprise value range of between £10m and £150m.

Steve Tudge, Managing Director:

“The success of fundraising for ECI 9 has surpassed our expectations given the challenging conditions of the past 3 months. We are delighted that over 90% of the ECI 9 capital has been committed by existing ECI investors showing the loyalty of our investor base, some of whom will now have invested in the last 6 successive ECI funds since 1990.

Having provided finance to more than 250 companies over the last three decades, our team has a wealth of experience in generating value at different points in the economic cycle. That combined with the continuation of our successful investment strategy created an excess demand from investors. We are looking forward to maintaining the strong performance achieved by our previous ECI funds by investing in niche market leading businesses.”

The ECI 9 fundraising was led by Steve Tudge MD, Sean Whelan MD and Jeremy Lytle Investor Relations Director.

About ECI Partners ( ECI is one of the longest established private equity groups in the UK and has helped to build and grow many successful businesses over the last 30 years. With offices in London and Manchester, and a team of 20 dedicated professionals, ECI specialises in buyouts, buy-ins and development capital deals of £10m to £150 million.

ECI is owned by its team and manages private equity funds with a capital base of over £880 million; and has provided funds for over 250 companies.

With a focus of investing in businesses operating in niche, growth markets recent ECI investments include PRG, ilG, DLP, CliniSys, Kelvin Hughes, Axell Wireless, Premier Bathrooms, Bargain Booze, M2 Digital and Racal Acoustics. This investment strategy has enabled ECI to participate in the growth and successful exits of a wide range of businesses including recent exits from Bounty, M and M Direct, Nuaire, Thinkmoney Group,, ClarityBlue, Tragus, Kirker Travel, NCC Services, Hoseasons Holidays and Holiday Autos. ECI’s early investments included famous names such as Albert Fisher, Bloomsbury Publishing, Games Workshop, Guardian iT, Lowndes Lambert, National Express, Prontaprint, Sunsail, and Williams Holdings.

ECI has a strong track record of growing businesses, as evidenced by the growth in employment, turnover and profits at the six businesses ECI sold in 2007. During 2007 ECI sold Enviros, Anix, Thinkmoney Group, Nuaire, M and M Direct and Bounty for a total value of approximately £400m. During the period of ECI’s investment, these businesses created 775 new jobs, increased sales at 14% p.a. and profits at 22% p.a.