Leicestershire risk management group undergoes MBO

Palatine Private Equity has supported the management buyout of technology-driven testing, inspection and certification (TIC) business Lucion Services.

Founded in 2003, Lucion, which has offices in Lutterworth, is a multidisciplinary risk management group focused on hazardous materials, with a major presence in the asbestos compliance market.

Headquartered in Gateshead, the group employs over 300 people, with its growth to date being driven both organically and through acquisition. In 2011, the firm completed the purchase of Leicester-based AOH Limited, before adding asbestos and environmental consultancy Redhills in 2016. The investment from Palatine, together with a debt funding package provided by HSBC, provides an exit for the founder shareholders, plus will allow the business to continue its buy and build growth strategy.

The deal sees Palatine back the incumbent executive management team, comprising CEO Phil Rozier, Chief Risk Officer Ross Boulton and Chief Operations Officer Adam Mead. Jamie McGivern, who previously worked with Palatine at insurance broker Chase Templeton, joins the business as Chief Financial Officer, and Patrick Morton, co-founder of Lucion, will continue with the business in an advisory capacity.

The deal was led for Palatine by Gary Tipper, Ed Fazakerley, Kieran Lawton and James Winterbottom. Lawton and Winterbottom will join the board as non-executive directors.

The investment was made from Palatine’s Fund III, which closed at £220m in June 2015. The investment in Lucion gives Palatine further presence in the Yorkshire and North East region, alongside existing portfolio companies Icelolly and ZyroFisher.

Kieran Lawton, Investment Director at Palatine Private Equity said: “With deaths from asbestos-related illnesses continuing to rise, there is a clear, ongoing need for the quality of service that Lucion provides. We have been impressed with the company’s development to date and are very much looking forward to working with Phil and the team on the next stage of the company’s journey.”

James Winterbottom, Investment Director at Palatine Private Equity, added: “Lucion represents an exciting opportunity to back a market-leading business within the testing and inspection sector. With its scale and national infrastructure, together with its industry-leading NexGen operating system, we can see a clear opportunity to work with the team to accelerate the company’s growth both organically and through further acquisitions.”

Patrick Morton, co-founder of Lucion Services, said: “[Co-founder] Charles Pickles and I are proud of what has been achieved at Lucion to date. Going forward, the company’s market-leading position will be further strengthened by the support that Palatine’s involvement will offer. This is a very exciting time for the business as it is positioned for further growth under the leadership of the existing management team.”