Banking trio start private equity shop

London-based Lonsdale Capital Partners will focus on companies valued between €12m and €24m.

Finance veteran Alan Dargan has teamed up with former Bank of England economist David Gasparro and Ross Finegan, formerly of Chase Capital Partners, to form private equity firm Lonsdale Capital Partners.

The London-based firm will invest in companies valued between €12 million and €24 million, but will not focus on particular sectors, said Finegan in an interview with PEO.

The firm will target “ambitious management teams in mature, cashflow-generating businesses that have probably brought their business to the limit of their ability, and who want to work with someone to help develop it from one level to another”, he said.

Finegan was involved in various deals during his time at Chase, including the acquisitions of Merlin Entertainment in 1999 and the sale of Cineworld, then Cine UK, to The Blackstone Group in 2004. He started working with Alan Dargan, former investment banker at Credit Suisse First Boston and UBS, in 2000.

In November 2008, the pair completed the acquisition of OEG Offshore, an Aberdeen-based offshore equipment supplier. “That’s really when Alan and I started working together properly,” said Finegan. “I took space in his office and we started looking at deals together.”

With Finegan’s private equity background and Dargan “investing as a private equity investor for the last five to 10 years himself”, the pair decided to formalise their working relationship by setting up the firm.

They added a third Partner, Gasparro, who “was someone we both knew and liked”, said Finegan, and whose “investment background and management skills would lend themselves correctly to what we wanted to do.” Prior to joining the partnership, Gasparro was former head of distribution at London-based fund manager Threadneedle. 

Finegan described the UK market as being one of “not necessarily rapid growth, but stability” and that this represented the right time in the evolution of the market for the trio to launch the firm.

The firm declined to comment on its funding structure.