Baird's Europe team unlocks 2.7x return

The UK middle market investor's success with lock maker Paddock hinged in part on Baird's global reach, said director James Benfield.

Baird Capital Partners Europe has opened the door to a 2.7x return multiple with the sale of door locks company Paddock Holdings to strategic buyer ASSA ABLOY.

“We’ve taken an old fashioned manufacturer, [purchasing it] a year before the recession hit that industry, and turned it into the No. 1 in its sector, enough to catch the interest of the [industry’s] No. 1 on the globe,” James Benfield, director at Baird Capital Partners Europe, told PEO.

We have a level of resource globally that we can bring to bear on our portfolio companies that really makes a difference.

James Benfield

The UK private equity firm invested £8.9 million as part of the company's management buyout in 2006. At the time, BCPE felt the business was operationally undermanaged and had a fledgling supply chain in Asia. When BCPE purchased the company, colleagues from Baird Asia got involved on the ground to help Paddock improve its Asian operations.

“It’s a good [exit] for us because it’s evidencing what we’ve been telling the market and the LPs for a while, which is we have a level of resource globally that we can bring to bear on our portfolio companies that really makes a difference,” Benfield said.

While owned by BCPE, Paddock developed operations into Europe, the US and Asia. Operating partner David Fraser advised on the portfolio company, which replaced its sales, technical and finance directors. It marked the 9th chairmanship of a BCPE portfolio company for longtime operating partner Fraser.

“Baird has been a fantastic partner for us over the past years,” Nigel Hutchinson, Paddock chief executive, said in a statement. “They have been highly supportive of our growth strategy in a tough market and provided real help and significant operational expertise through their international network.”

James Benfield

Paddock was a portfolio company in BCPE Fund I, the firm’s seventh private equity fund, which closed in 2005 on €204 million. Benfield declined to disclose its amount of remaining capital, save to say the fund was likely to do “another couple of deals”.

Led by Simon Havers, Baird Capital Partners Europe is the UK private equity arm of Baird Private Equity, which is a subsidiary of US financial services firm RW Baird & Co.