Dunedin backs leisure homes buyout

The UK private equity house has taken a 20 percent stake in the £20m buyout of ABI, a Hull-based leisure homes manufacturer.

Dunedin Enterprise Investment Trust, the UK-based firm which specialises in sub-£50 million (€73 million; $92 million) buyouts and buy-ins, has led the MBO of ABI (UK) Limited, a Hull-based manufacturer of leisure homes.

Dunedin has paid £3.25 million for a 20 percent stake in a new company which will acquire ABI for £20 million. The firm is backing the existing management team, led by Mel Copper as chief executive and Andrew Allwood as finance director. Shaun Middleton of Dunedin has been appointed a non-executive director.


ABI manufactures leisure homes from its headquarters in Beverley near Hull, which it sells to caravan park operators and to dealers throughout the UK. ABI’s main customers include Parkdean, Park Resorts, Devon Caravans and Bourne Leisure, which was acquired by Candover and Legal & General Ventures in 2000. In the year ended 31 August 2003, ABI had turnover of £32.3 million and operating profit of £2.5 million. 


ABI (UK) Limited was originally formed as a result of the merger and subsequent flotation of ACE International and Belmont in the 1970’s. In 1998 the business went into receivership and was then acquired by Klesch Capital Partners.


Shaun Middleton, a director of Dunedin, said the firm was backing “a proven management team in a buyout of a cash generative business with good market prospects.”  “This deal is consistent with our primary objective to achieve substantial long term growth in the Trust’s assets through capital gains from its investments,” he said.


Dunedin Capital Partners has a total of nearly £200m under management in its publicly quoted Dunedin Enterprise Trust and its Dunedin Buyout Fund LP, which closed on £54m in December 2002 and invests alongside the trust.  


In November, the firm backed the £37 million buyout of Caledonian Building Systems, which designs, manufactures and constructs permanent buildings using pre-engineered, steel-framed modules assembled at a specialist facility in Newark, Nottinghamshire.