Lisburn refrigeration firm in £60m boost after selling majority share
A fridge, freezer and kitchens rental company in Lisburn has sold a majority share for £60m in one of the biggest ever private equity deals here.
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Lowe Rental, which was set up in 1977, said it is being funded by Perwyn in London after former funder MML Growth Capital Partners Ireland realised an investment it had made in 2014.
Lowe Rental is a major global player in refrigeration and renting out catering equipment to food exhibitions, sporting events and retailers worldwide.
In its most recent results for the year ending August 2017, the company had increased turnover from £11m to £14m, and more than doubled pre-tax profits from around £0.85m to £1.8m.
The firm has around 125 employees around the world, and premises in the US, Germany, Singapore, the Middle East, Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Chief executive Rodney Lowry said it was an ideal time for the company to receive new funding.
"Lowe Rental is an extremely well diversified service business operating from strategic centre locations throughout Europe, Middle East, Eastern Asia and the Americas," he said.
"In 2017 the company was active in 41 countries and traded with 142 nationalities from the food production, food retail, catering, event and exhibition industries.
"We couldn't have entered a partnership such as this at a better time in the evolution of this business."
Perwyn, which is backed by the Perrodo family in France and is making its first investment on the island of Ireland, said: "We are delighted to be partnering with Rodney Lowry and the executive team at Lowe to support their continuing growth strategy. We have reviewed several investment opportunities in the sector over the last year, but when we were introduced to Lowe we were particularly attracted by its track record of international growth and high quality asset base.
"This coupled with a reputation for outstanding customer service and innovation are attributes its customers really appreciate and make it stand out."
The company was advised by the corporate finance team at Deloitte in Dublin, while Carson McDowell in Belfast was the company's legal adviser. Neasa Quigley, joint head of corporate practice at Carson McDowell, said: "This transaction is one of the largest ever private equity deals in Northern Ireland and provides further evidence that there continues to be significant interest from international investors in high quality Northern Ireland businesses - particularly those operating in global markets.
"The strength of Lowe Rental's growing business in numerous overseas markets has attracted considerable interest from private equity investors for some time.
"We wish the company well as it continues to grow in future." Anya Cummins, lead partner at Deloitte's corporate finance team in Dublin, said: "Lowe is a business with strong growth prospects in overseas markets and attracted very strong interest from the international private equity community.
"This is a great result for all involved and we wish Perwyn and the management team every success with what no doubt will be an exciting next phase of their journey."
MML Growth Capital Partners Ireland said its support had enabled the business to expand into new markets, notably retail.