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Can private equity help your business rebound from lockdown?

The COVID-19 outbreak has had consequences for businesses across the UK that could barely have been imagined a few weeks ago. No matter the sector in which your business operates, you will have faced a raft of challenges including managing your team remotely, dealing with dramatic reductions in demand, changing customer needs and failures or delays in your supply chain. All of this in addition to the direct impact the virus may have had on you, your employees and your family.

The day to day challenge of business survival probably seems quite enough to be dealing with right now, however it is important to spend some time looking forward. The lockdown won’t go on forever and you shouldn’t let the hard yards put into protecting your business during the lockdown go unrewarded.

What is the new normal?

The first thing to understand is how “business as usual” for your enterprise might be changed as a result of the recent disruption. Are all of your suppliers and customers still trading? Will your customers’ needs have changed? How have your competitors reacted to the crisis? How will you reintegrate people back into your team after a long isolation?

We know that this is a worrying time for most of us and that there will be further problems to deal with and resolve as the situation develops. However, there will also be opportunities for businesses to think differently about how they work, recruit talent and grow. This may be the right time to refine your existing products and services, launch new ones or indeed acquire a competitor to access customers or technology. We believe that we can help businesses capitalise on these opportunities through our involvement, access to capital and expertise.

How can equity help?

Some businesses are already thriving, specifically those supporting healthcare, technology services and those who were equipped for remote working. Others are looking ahead to the post-Covid era and are revising strategies to help them grow once again.

Taking private equity investment to support these revised plans will not only provide you with funding to help facilitate your plans, but will allow you access to a network of experienced investment professionals, industry experts and external contacts that can add real value to your business, especially in uncertain times like these. The right investor will be a valuable and pragmatic sounding board for you and will consider the long-term situation, supporting you through both exciting and challenging times.

Whether your strategy is underpinned by organic or acquisitive growth, we can provide the funding and support to help you. Equally, if you’re a shareholder who is ready to realise some of your investment now, either partially or fully, we can also help you achieve this.

What we've experienced within our portfolio

KCP have been an active investor in the SME market for nearly 15 years and have successfully supported and helped businesses to develop, grow and thrive in both good and bad times.

During the last recession, KCP supported the management buy-out of Neville Johnson, a manufacturer and installer of high-quality bespoke home-office and fitted bedroom furniture. As a result of extensive up-front due diligence, we were able to confirm that their target customers would remain largely resilient. We supported and nurtured the business through the downturn and encouraged the management team to focus on growing the business through the addition of new product sectors. We also helped them enter an adjacent market by acquiring a business out of administration. Consequently, sales grew by 100% during our investment and an uplift of 92% in company value was achieved. On exit, we managed a successful secondary buyout which enabled the management team to benefit from the continued growth of the business.

Today, we remain fully supportive of all our portfolio and in regular (often daily) contact to help navigate through any short-term threats and offer our assistance where we can. We have helped businesses access government support schemes where appropriate such as the job retention scheme and have furloughed staff where necessary. Thus far, we have largely seen a reticence from their incumbent banks to provide CBILS loans, though they have been more willing to extend current facilities such as overdrafts and CID lines to support businesses through any short-term cashflow issues they may be facing.

We’re certainly not out of the woods yet, but what we’ve learnt is the impact the current pandemic is having on businesses is out of anyone’s control. However, the action taken by our portfolio businesses has demonstrated that good management coupled with a differentiated proposition and strong execution will ensure businesses have the ability to navigate through this short-term issue and be well set to grow thereafter.

Given the robustness of our portfolio and the strength of investor base, we believe that despite the current situation businesses that are innovative, proactive and forward looking will still be successful and we are actively looking to make new investments and expand our portfolio. KCP’s first fund was launched just before the 2008/9 financial crisis and our partners have many years of private equity experience prior to joining KCP, so, we know that there will be opportunities for forward thinking management teams of nimble SMEs to develop their businesses and thrive in a post-COVID world. If you think that you and your business might benefit from our involvement, please get in touch.

Posted in All, Blog on May 04, 2020