Dow Schofield Watts’ Transaction Services’ team advised private equity firm LDC on the sale of its investment in Waterfall Catering Group to Paris-based multinational Elior Group SA.

Warrington-based Waterfall is the contract catering business behind Caterplus and Taylor Shaw. LDC originally backed the £20m secondary buyout of Waterfall in December 2014 in a deal that supported the growth ambitions of the firm’s management team, led by CEO Jim Lovett, Finance Director Gabrielle Higham and Chairman Vince Pearson.

Since the investment, LDC has supported the management team in executing their organic growth strategy, which has driven revenues from £50m to over £70m and the number of employees from 3,000 to more than 3,500.

Elior Group, which is listed on Paris’ Euronext market, is one of the world’s largest operators in the contracted food industry with a revenue of €5,674 million in the financial year 2014-2015.  Both Caterplus and Taylor Shaw will continue to operate under their current brands as part of a new Elior company, with the management team remaining as shareholders to oversee the next phase of growth.

The transaction generated a 2.6x money multiple and IRR of 81 per cent for LDC.

Ed Brentnall, Catriona Lang and Nick Bolton of Dow Schofield Watts provided vendor assistance to Waterfall, whilst Keith Miller provided VAT advice.

Ed said: “We worked closely with LDC and management at the time of LDC’s investment in Waterfall in December 2014, so it is particularly pleasing to be able to assist both parties in reaching a successful deal with Elior Group just over 18 months later. We wish the company and management all the best for the future.”

Jim Lovett, CEO at Waterfall Catering Group, said: “LDC backed our vision and ambition as a management team to create an even stronger business and has provided unwavering support for our growth plans ever since. The deal with Elior Group provides a highly strategic outcome for our partnership with LDC and puts us in a great position to further develop our offering to customers within our core sectors in education and care.”

Gabrielle Higham, CFO of Waterfall commented:

“Throughout the last two years of Waterfall’s evolution, Ed and Cat at DSW have supported us with a variety of services, from focussed buy-side due diligence at the time of LDC’s investment in 2014, acquisition support in the intervening period, and invaluable assistance in terms of preparing us and the Business for Elior’s recent due diligence process. They have consistently demonstrated a strong understanding of our Business and the catering sector, and were instrumental in helping us deliver the Elior deal successfully and to timetable.”