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21 COMPANIES IN THE SOUTHEAST WIN A PLACE ON LEAGUE TABLE OF BRITAINS FAST-GROWING PRIVATE EQUITY-B

21 COMPANIES IN THE SOUTHEAST WIN A PLACE ON LEAGUE TABLE OF BRITAINS FAST-GROWING PRIVATE EQUITY-BACKED STARS
21 companies in the Southeast, compared to 19 last year, have made it onto the fifth annual Sunday Times Deloitte Buyout Track 100.
The league table ranks Britains 100 private equity-backed companies with the fastest-growing profits (EBITDA) over the last two years of available accounts.
The 21 companies have made a considerable contribution to the local economy. Together, they employ 22,750 people, having added 3,300 jobs over the last two years, and have generated combined profits of 280m.
Evans Cycles makes its debut on the league table after recording profit growth of 104% a year from 1.5m in 2007 to 6.1m in 2009. The cycle retailer has its headquarters in Crawley, West Sussex, and opened four stores last year, taking its total to 36. In 2008, Active Private Equity acquired a majority stake for an undisclosed sum.
Another company benefitting from the rise in the number of people choosing to commute by bike is online sports good retailer Wiggle. The Portsmouth company sells cycling products, and a range of running, swimming and triathlon gear to customers in more than 80 countries. It was launched in 1999 by cycle enthusiasts Mitch Dall and Harvey Jones. In 2006 Isis Equity Partners paid 12.3m for a 42% stake, and profits leapt 53% a year from 3.2m in 2008 to 7.4m in 2010.
Bed retailer Dreams makes its third consecutive appearance on the league table. In 2008 Exponent Private Equity backed a management buyout thought to be in region of 200m, helping to grow the chain to more than 260 stores. Under chief executive Nick Worthington, profits have grown 25% a year from 16m in 2007 to 25.1m in 2009.
The companies in the Southeast feature on the league table alongside well-known names across the country such as online DVD rental company Lovefilm.com, backed by a private equity consortium, lifestyle retailer Cath Kidston, backed by TA Associates, fashion store Jack Wills, backed by Inflexion Private Equity, and restaurant chain YO! Sushi, backed by Quilvest Private Equity.
Kerr Mitchell, head of the Southeast region at Deloitte, title sponsor of the league table, commented:
Many private equity backed businesses in the Southeast have weathered the storm once again and shown that sustained growth is possible. As the economy continues to strengthen and transaction confidence returns, deal volumes and corporate appetite for expansion through acquisitions will increase and I believe that many private equity backed businesses will remain at the centre of M&A activity.
The national picture
Despite tough economic conditions, over the past two years of latest available accounts the 100 companies on the
league table grew their profits by an average of 48% a year to combined profits of 1.4bn.
Together they employed 90,909 staff, having added 16,198 employees to their workforce in the last two years.
The league table suggests that deal activity is starting to recover after a challenging time for the private equity industry. 27 of this years Buyout Track 100 were the subject of buyouts in 2010, compared to just 10 companies bought out in the 12 months preceding the 2010 league table.
Most of the companies are based in London (27) and the Southeast (21). The remainder breaks down as follows: North (21), Midlands (13), East (6), Scotland (5), Southwest (4), Wales (2) and Northern Ireland (1).
The full findings will be published in a special 10-page supplement with the business section of The Sunday Times on 6 February and on www.fasttrack.co.uk.
Unlike most research into the private equity industry, The Sunday Times Deloitte Buyout Track 100 highlights profit performance of companies backed by private equity, rather than just the deals and exits.
The league table is compiled by Fast Track, the UKs leading face-to-face networking events company for
top-performing private companies and entrepreneurs, with title sponsorship from Deloitte and main sponsorship from Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets, Skillcapital and UBS Wealth Management.

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