New equity partner for equipment rental firm Lowe as Perwyn buys in for £60m

Lowe Rental - which has supplied its equipment to events like Wimbledon - has a new majority equity partner in Perwyn
Gary McDonald Business Editor

LISBURN-based refrigeration and catering equipment rental specialist Lowe has a new equity partner after privately-funded investment firm Perwyn paid £60 million to buy out its previous majority stakeholder.

And the transaction represents one of the largest private equity deals to come out of Northern Ireland in recent years.

Perwyn, which is backed by the Perrodo family of France, who also own Anglo-French oil and gas company Perenco, has acquired the majority stake in Lowe previously owned by Dublin private equity fund MML Growth Capital Partners.

Deloitte acted as lead corporate finance and debt adviser to the shareholders of Lowe Rental Ltd on the investment while Carson McDowell were lead legal advisers in overseeing the exit of MML.

Lowe, established 40 years ago, had appointed Deloitte last year to advise it on its strategic options and assist with finding the best investment solution to support its accelerated growth.

According to Companies House, Lowe had £14.3 million in sales in the year to last August - up 29 per cent on the previous year's £11.1m.

Lowe Rental has grown to be the largest globally recognised refrigeration and catering equipment rental service provider to food exhibitions, sporting events and retailers worldwide. The business is seen as being extremely well diversified.

In 2014, MML Growth Capital Partners backed the Lowe management team, taking a 55 per cent stake in the company.

Lowe - which services all major food exhibitions, events, retailers and food producers with rental solutions and equipment sales, including Wimbledon, Glastonbury Festival and the Singapore Grand Prix - saw its sales soar as a result of that investment.

Deloitte's lead partner on the transaction Anya Cummins said: “We are delighted to have supported MML and the management shareholders on this deal.

"It represents one of the largest private equity deals to come out of Northern Ireland, a very successful growth journey and exit by MML in Ireland, and the first investment by Perwyn into the Irish market.

"Lowe is a business with strong growth prospects in overseas markets and attracted very strong interest from the international private equity community. This is a great result for all involved and we wish Perwyn and the management team every success with this exciting next phase of their journey.”

Neasa Quigley, joint head of corporate practice at Carson McDowell, said: “We are delighted to have advised the shareholders of Lowe Rental on this major investment in their business.

"The deal provides further evidence that there continues to be significant interest from international investors in high quality Northern Ireland businesses, particularly those operating in global markets.

"The strength of Lowe Rental's growing business in numerous overseas markets has attracted considerable interest from private equity investors for some time. We wish the company well as it continues to grow in future.”

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