Foresight takes punt on football venture

The UK private equity firm has reunited with the former management team of Covion, an outsourcing company that earned the group 4.4x its money two years ago, to inject £3.25m into sports facility provider @Futsal.

UK-based private equity firm Foresight Group has invested £3.25 million (€3.59 million; $4.6 million) in @Futsal, a company that operates indoor pitches for Futsal, the fast-paced indoor version of association football. 
The investment sees Foresight reunited with the former management team of Covion, a Foresight-backed facilities management company which was sold to construction and engineering firm Balfour Beatty for £33 million in 2007. Foresight said it achieved an 84 percent internal rate of return with a 4.4 times return on its Covion investment over two and a half years. 
Managing director of @Futsal and qualified football coach Frank Rodriguez was one of Covion’s founding directors.
 “The popularity of small sided football, and in particular Futsal, around the world, is a clear indication of the future potential for @Futsal in bringing this new leisure pursuit to the UK,” said Chris Price, investment manager at Foresight, in a statement. 
@Futsal currently has one site, a three-pitch facility in Swindon, Wiltshire. With the latest capital injection, the company intends to roll-out a chain of indoor football centres across the UK, with the aim of opening 30 sites over the next four years. 
The investment in @Futsal is made from across various Foresight funds. The firm has around £200 million under management and invests in clean technology infrastructure opportunities as well as small buyouts in more traditional sectors.