Grant Thornton’s North West Corporate Finance team has completed two major regional private equity deals, together worth more than £100m, where social impact was a key factor.
The Grant Thornton team led the strategic sale by pioneering Lancashire-based Recycling Lives of a minority stake to Three Hills Capital Partners and has also advised the founders of Estio Training, a leading Northern provider of IT, digital and technology apprenticeships on an investment deal with mid-market investor Palatine Private Equity’s Impact Fund.
In both cases the business owners made a conscious decision to look at the social value credentials of their prospective equity partner before doing the deal.
Peter Terry, Partner and head of Corporate Finance in the North West, said: “Social and environmental impact is becoming increasingly important in the market place and we are already seeing some private equity firms using this as a differentiator.
“Palatine’s Impact Fund, for example, is a £100 million investment vehicle targeting growth companies that deliver a positive social and/or environmental impact.
“Three Hills Capital Partners also has a dedicated social programme, THCP for Social, through which it supports various social and economic development projects.”
“For a business such as Recycling Lives, which employs ex-offenders, helps the homeless and addresses poverty in some of our poorest communities, it was essential for it to find a partner that shared its values and culture.”
Recycling Lives was founded in 2008 by brothers Steve and Danny Jackson and is led day-to-day by chief executive Will Fletcher.
The business ensures the success of its commercial operations delivers more than just environmental and economic value – it also creates tangible social value through programmes including: HMP Academies to support offender rehabilitation; Residential Programme to support people at risk of homelessness to regain their independence; and Food Redistribution supporting charitable groups to feed local communities.
Working with Three Hills Capital Partners, Recycling Lives will accelerate a five-year growth plan to expand the £70m turnover business nationwide.
Recycling Lives’ founder Steve Jackson OBE DL, said of the deal: “This represents a key milestone for Recycling Lives, giving us the firepower to accelerate further our growth both commercially and socially.
“I am delighted with the partner we have found in Three Hills Capital Partners, particularly its shared ethos and support for the social values that are deep-rooted in Recycling Lives. This is a unique partnership, as private equity investors see the value of social returns as well as financial returns.”