Better Capital swoops on Connaught assets

Jon Moulton’s private equity firm Better Capital has acquired part of the collapsed property services group Connaught, committing £15 million for the purchase and restructure of half the compliance division.

The turnaround specialist has bought the risk management business from Connaught spin-out Santia that had been held by administrator KPMG. Connaught, which served both private and public sector organisations, collapsed with debts of £220 million in September after its lenders failed to agree to a new business plan. Despite the parent company being placed in administration, Santia has continued to trade.

Better Capital’s purchased businesses operate in health and safety consultancy, training services, occupational health, asbestos management, food safety, information services, supplier and vendor accreditation.

Sean Cooper, director of operations at Better Capital, who will chair the new company Santia Consulting, describes Connaught’s advisory division as the ‘jewel in the crown’, adding that further work will need to be completed to further separate the acquired businesses.

Cooper tells GrowthBusiness, ‘We will have to work with KPMG to separate the business and then we have some investment plans centred around new IT operating systems and new facilities – we are keen to invest behind this. It is a very attractive business, with a really strong client base.’

Santia chief executive Ian Carlisle remarks, ‘The sale of the advisory businesses is a very positive outcome for both customers and staff, giving longer term financial stability, business continuity and growth.’

Early last month, Better Capital backed aerospace supplier Gardner Group’s acquisition of the Blade Tooling Company and Blade Technology, and drew headlines last year with the purchase of the UK arm of struggling magazine publisher Reader’s Digest.

The other half of Santia business, the field-based service operations, which include pest prevention, water services and fire services, are not in administration and continue to progress through a sales process, which is expected will be concluded shortly, according to a statement from the company.

Todd Cardy

Todd Cardy

Todd was Editor of between 2010 and 2011 as well as being responsible for publishing our digital and printed magazines focusing on private equity and venture capital.

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