Foresight invests £2 million in ICA Group Ltd

11 March 2009 - Foresight Group (“Foresight”), a leading alternative asset manager, announced today that it has backed the management buyout of ICA Group Ltd (“ICA”), a fast growing document management solutions provider.  Foresight has invested £2 million in the transaction, and RBS has provided a £2 million long term loan with the balance coming from investment by the management team. 

The investment by Foresight will enable ICA, under the new management team, to significantly enhance its sales and marketing activities and support the company’s sales-orientated growth strategy over the next three years.  ICA is seeking to double the size of its sales team and enhance its marketing activities to drive the acquisition of new customers and maximise service revenues.   In addition, ICA will seek to consolidate its strong market position though the acquisition of complementary businesses that will allow the company to grow its customer base and increase market share.  The company has already identified a number of suitable acquisition targets.

Based in Surrey, ICA is a leading document management solutions provider in the South East of England.  The company’s core business is reselling and maintaining Ricoh and Toshiba office printing equipment to clients primarily in the commercial, public, education and healthcare sectors.  There are two key elements to ICA’s business – machine sales, which currently represent 58% of turnover, and servicing and maintenance, which accounts for a further 37% of turnover.  ICA employs 17 staff, including a manufacturer trained team of seven full-time service engineers, providing an end to end service offering to clients.

The management buyout is led by Simon Whapshott who has been with ICA since 1999 and takes on the role as Managing Director, along with Sales Director Bob Price who has more than ten years experience at ICA, and Rita Fraser, as acting Finance Director. Andy Nash, a seasoned private equity investor with more than 20 years experience across a broad range of sectors, and has been involved in eleven MBO/MBI transactions, will join as non-executive chairman. 

Sonia Powar, an Investment Director at Foresight who led the deal, commented:
“This is an excellent investment opportunity for Foresight.  ICA is a strong, cash-generative, high margin business with a sustainable and growing customer base and we believe it has significant future prospects.  Led by an experienced management team with an excellent track record of growing the business to date, we have no doubt that ICA is well placed to deliver on an ambitious strategy over the next three years and we look forward to working with the team to help the company realise its full potential.”

Simon Whapshott, Managing Director of ICA added:
“This is an exciting time for ICA and marks an important milestone in the development of the business.  The market in which we operate is growing strongly and is forecast to increase at 5% p.a. as customers look to adopt equipment with more advanced technology.  ICA is well placed to exploit this growth as we look to expand the business over the next few years.  With the financial and operational support of an experienced investor such as Foresight I believe we are in a great position to be able to maximise ICA’s future potential.”

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