Lindley Catering completes buy-out

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Lindley Catering Limited (Lindley), the UK’s leading provider of contracted catering to sports stadia, has been bought by Sovereign Capital Partners LLP (Sovereign Capital) in a £14 million deal. Management will be retaining a stake in the business going forward.

With its head office in Stoke on Trent on Queens Road, Penkull, the company has branch locations nationwide. Lindley provides both public and executive catering to organisations throughout the UK.

With contracts at 32 football clubs, premiership clubs include Manchester City and Celtic FC in addition to cricket and rugby clubs. In the Midlands the company also has contracts for Wolverhampton Wanderers, Leicester City and West Bromwich football clubs and Leicester Tigers and Northampton Saints rugby union clubs.

Lindley, with a £30 million plus turnover, employs over 400 full time staff and has been built to its present market position by Alex McCrindle as CEO, Paul Biffen as sales and marketing director and David Hulme as finance director.

The company plans to increase its market share by winning more contracts in both mainstream and niche sports facilities and through acquiring complementary businesses.

Sovereign, who were advised by Clearwater Corporate Finance in Birmingham, has a strong track record of helping companies buy and build similar businesses to form successful groups.

Growth for contracting-out catering services is forecast to continue in this sector as the trend towards outsourcing increases and as stadia have more opportunity to host an increasingly diverse range of functions from pop concerts to conferences.

In the non-sports sector, Lindley is also operating in theatre and further opportunities exist for the company at other venues, including exhibition and conference centres.

Alex McCrindle, Lindley’s CEO, says: “We are delighted to have Sovereign as a partner in supporting Lindley to the next level of growth. Sovereign has significant experience of working with support service businesses, understands the market opportunity and will be able to support our strategy for both acquisitive and organic growth.”

Simon Hitchcock of Sovereign, adds: “Lindley is a market leading business in a niche sector with an established reputation for high standards of quality and service delivery. There are now opportunities for growth both within and beyond that niche and we believe that this first class management team have all the skills to take Lindley to its next stage.”

Jon Hustler, partner, who led the Clearwater team, assisted by director Martin Poole adds: “We were delighted to work alongside Sovereign Capital in delivering this transaction. Under the stewardship of the current management team Lindley has established an enviable position and is well poised for further growth with the backing of its new investors.”

Martin Cordey, director at Lloyds TSB Corporate Acquisition Finance in Birmingham, said: “Catering at football and other sports stadia is now big business. Competition in the market has intensified which has led to many contracted catering companies upping their game.

“The buy-out will enable Lindley to consolidate its leading position in the market place and give it the extra impetus to drive the business forward.”