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LDC hires John Garner to head Yorkshire investment team as Swarbrick exits

7 Sep 2012

UK private equity firm LDC has appointed John Garner to head its operations in Yorkshire and the North East as it steps up its investment in the region.

He will take over the role from John Swarbrick, who has led LDC in the region over the past 12 years. Swarbrick will remain with LDC on a part-time basis until the end of 2013 to assist in a smooth transition. He will also remain as a non-executive director on several of LDC portfolio company boards.

Garner (pictured) qualified as a chartered accountant with KPMG in London, where he spent nine years as a corporate finance advisor. He joined LDC in June 2006, subsequently heading its East Midlands operation in Nottingham.

He has experience of a wide range of sectors having led LDC’s investments in freight distributor The Pallet Network, pet food manufacturer Cranswick Pet & Aquatics, mechanical engineering contractor PJD, security firm VSG and electrical protection company, Omega Red.

Earlier this year, LDC appointed Dale Alderson as an investment director from Deloitte’s corporate finance team in Leeds, working alongside investment director Tony Norwood, who joined in 2009 following five years with Bank of Scotland Integrated Finance in the North of England.

Garner said, “I am delighted to be taking over the reins from John Swarbrick. Our track record in Leeds has been outstanding and this is in no small measure due to John’s leadership and relationship based management style.

“I have a mandate to build on this platform and continue to increase LDC’s level of investment in the region’s mid-market companies.

“I’m looking forward to developing our relationships with the market and wider business community and supporting the growth aspirations of management teams.”

In 2012, the Leeds office of LDC supported the management buyout of TD Travel, the travel management consultancy business, as well as the acquisition of Thomson Aero for portfolio company MB Aerospace, one of the UK’s leading aerospace companies.

In the previous year, the office backed the secondary buyout of Driver Hire, the franchised provider of temporary and permanent personnel to the logistics and distribution industries, and exited its investments in global contract pharmaceutical products manufacturer Aesica and Volvox Group, a leading supplier of auto electrical products and industrial consumables.

John Swarbrick said, “This is a mature, amicable and planned transition. I have had a fantastic career at LDC and built lifelong relationships both within LDC and in the market place.

“I am delighted for John Garner. He is an experienced operator with a strong track record and a relationship based style.

“LDC has been a major part of the private equity community in the region for over a decade and I’m confident John will continue to develop its role into the future.”

Darryl Eales, LDC’s CEO, paid tribute to Swarbrick’s contribution, adding: “John is a true LDC stalwart – he balances excellent investment judgement with a management orientated, commercial style. Most of all, he is a top bloke and a great friend who I hope will continue to be a great ambassador for LDC for many years to come.”

Nationally, LDC invested £380m in 20 new companies during 2011, as well as providing £53m of additional funding to existing portfolio businesses. So far this year, it has continued to demonstrate its appetite, investing approximately £200m of equity in 13 businesses plus additional funding to support a total of nine portfolio acquisitions.

Realisations have included the £148m sale of premium lingerie and swimwear business Eveden Group to Tokyo’s Wacoal Holdings Corporation and the £18m sale of Cranswick Pet Products to Westland Horticulture.

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