Statesman secures £4.25 million from bank fund

The Business Growth Fund has completed its second investment, committing £25 million in growth capital for acquisitive Statesman Travel Group, an independent travel management company.

The BGF, which is backed by the UK’s biggest high-street banks, will hold a minority stake in the company following the investment and will take a seat on the board. The investment was made alongside the injection of additional funds from existing shareholders and a debt facility from Lloyds Banking Group.

The funding will enable the strategic acquisition of Commodore Travel and will make the combined entity one of the top 10 UK travel management companies in terms of transactional volume, with revenues nearing £100 million, according to a statement from the BGF.

Statesman, which targets its services to blue chip corporate and private clients, was acquired in 2007 by its current management team, joint managing directors Mervyn Williamson and Jon Langley.

Before taking over the company in the buy-out, Williamson and Langley led the management buy-out of Phoenix Travel Group, together with its subsequent sale to TQ3 Travel Solutions in 2003.

Statesman has increased sales by more than 50 per cent since the acquisition and has grown staff numbers from 40 to 75. The combined group will have a staff of about 150 employees. Recently the company formed a strategic partnership with a provider of travel and expense management solutions to offer clients automated expense reconciliation.

It has also introduced the use of online applications to enable its business users to get up-to-the minute information on flights and trains.

It is the second investment for the £2.5 billion Business Growth Fund, which began operating in May this year. Earlier this month, the fund made a £4.2 million investment in Benefex, a provider of online employee reward and benefit schemes.

Williamson comments, ‘We wanted an investor, that would not only provide growth capital, but that would work alongside us as a partner over the long term. Commodore Travel is a well-established business with whom we have much in common.’

Stephen Welton, CEO of Business Growth Fund, adds, ‘This is BGF’s second investment and demonstrates that we are now very much open for business. In some ways the two deals illustrate the breadth and variety of companies and circumstances in which BGF will invest. Both companies share one very important thing – a proven and dynamic management team with a clear plan to grow their business.’

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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