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Key Capital Partners invests £8.6m supporting the MBO of YorkTest Laboratories

Private equity house Key Capital Partners (KCP) has backed the management team of YorkTest Laboratories Ltd in completing an MBO that sees CBPE Capital sell 100% of its stake in the food intolerance testing business, which trades as YorkTest and Lorisian.

YorkTest is the UK market leader in food intolerance testing. The company offers comprehensive support to customers in identifying food intolerance and then guiding them through dietary changes with the aim of addressing ailments such as IBS, migraines and skin conditions. YorkTest applies a rigorous process at its York-based laboratory to determine specific food or drink reactions, and then provides professional nutritional consultations to support and advise the customer in eliminating trigger foods from their diet – all with a simple finger-prick blood test which maximises ease of use for the customer.

Whilst the majority of YorkTest’s sales are direct to the customer via recommendations and through its website, sales are now growing through its Lorisian brand to a series of partners including a network of nutritionists as well as healthcare, insurance and occupational health blue-chip customers. The main market for YorkTest’s offering is currently the UK with sales to overseas markets growing strongly – with its scalable business model, YorkTest is well positioned to increase its penetration of both the UK and overseas markets.

The deal sees KCP acquire a majority stake in the business for an investment of over £8m, backing the incumbent management team of Rachel Jansen, CEO; Neil Guilder, CFO; Dr Gill Hart, scientific director; and Jonathan Brookes, operations director.

James Hall, partner at KCP, who led the investment team alongside Seb Wilkinson, will join the board of YorkTest.

“This is a long-established business with a proven track-record and reputation for quality in the food intolerance testing market, and we see huge potential for growth both directly to consumers as well as continued expansion into the business to business channel” said Mr Hall.

“The firm’s success lies in its unique service and delivery model, as well as the quality and reproducibility of its scientific processes. The customers who look for support from YorkTest are often recommended by their friends and colleagues who have seen their lives dramatically improved. This weight of support is a testimony to the robustness of the YorkTest model and its management team’s constant focus on the customer,” he added.

YorkTest managing director Rachel Jansen said: “We are immensely proud of the service we have developed over the years, and the impact our services have to improve the health and lives of many people every year. With 45% of people suffering symptoms of food intolerance, and three out of four people reporting feeling a benefit within four weeks of starting one of our dietary change programmes, we are only just scratching the surface of this huge issue. With greater understanding of the influence of diet on the body, and the interaction of certain ingredients to impact on conditions such as IBS, migraine and many other ailments, we are able to offer help to an increasing number of people and change their lives for the better.”

She continues: “We were looking for a partner to help us continue to build on the brand equity, continue to add complementary products and scale up to take advantage of the market opportunity in front of us, on a global basis. KCP see the same opportunities that we do, they bought into our customer engagement programme and fully supported our plans to grow and develop the business and provide food intolerance sufferers with a well-established, proven solution.”

KCP was supported on the transaction by: Addleshaw Goddard as lawyers; BDO on financial due diligence; CIL on commercial due diligence; Hendersons on insurance; Intuitus on IT; and PwC on tax. CBPE Capital was advised by Strata Partners LLP and DWF LLP. The YorkTest management team was advised by Walker Morris.

KCP which is headquartered in Leeds is a leading investor in the smaller buy-out market making investments of £3m-£15m in profitable growing companies, and in 2015 launched its latest £70m fund focused on making investments into high growth businesses across the UK. This investment is KCP’s fourth out of the current fund and the third in the last three months.

Posted on Jul 24, 2017