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Key Capital Partners exit Alliance in Partnership

Leading school meals specialist Alliance in Partnership (AiP) has been acquired by multinational catering company Sodexo from Key Capital Partners.

Birmingham-based AiP is a specialist educational catering business which feeds almost 85,000 pupils and students a day in schools and colleges across the UK. KCP backed the management buy-out of the business in 2014 with a multi-million pound investment and has supported it through a period of rapid growth which saw sales climb from £14m to £38m in four years.

In addition to organic growth, AiP acquired complementary businesses West Midlands-based Class Catering in 2014 and Kent education caterer The Contract Dining Company last year. During the period of KCP’s ownership, the number of schools served by AiP has increased from 170 in 2014 to 400 in 2018 while employee numbers have more than doubled, rising from 700 to over 1,500.

AiP managing director Paul Rogers, commented: “AiP has always been committed to serving freshly cooked, locally sourced and innovative food at a value for money price. This simple strategy has paid dividends over the last four years and we look forward to continuing this strategy with our new partners at Sodexo.”

KCP managing partner Owen Trotter added: “It has been a pleasure to be a member of the AiP board and work with the team over the last four years. We are very pleased to have been able to support the company during this period of growth and we are proud to have been associated with the success of such a high quality business providing a worthwhile product.”

KCP was advised by Alantra (corporate finance), Mills and Reeve (legal) and Grant Thornton (tax). Sodexo were advised by Eversheds Sutherland (legal).

With offices in Leeds and London, KCP makes equity investments of between £3m and £15m and has a strong reputation of deliverability and a track record of producing outstanding returns for its investors. Previous investments by the firm include Gear4Music, Construction Materials Online (CMO) and YorkTest.

Posted on Dec 11, 2018