Gresham builds regional presence

The UK mid-market private equity firm has hired former PricewaterhouseCoopers director Paul Franks as an investment manager at its Birmingham offices.

Gresham Private Equity, the UK mid-market private equity firm which gained independence from parent-company Zurich Financial Services in February, has hired Paul Franks as an investment manager at its Birmingham offices.


Franks joins the firm from PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Birmingham office where he was assistant director of the firm’s corporate finance unit, specialising in transaction origination, marketing, structuring and execution of deals in the middle market. He was seconded to private equity group Bridgepoint Capital throughout 2002 where he initiated and carried out investment opportunities.


“Deals generated in the Midlands historically have accounted for a fifth of all UK management buyouts,” said Gresham director Simon Inchley. “Although that percentage reduced last year, the first quarter of 2003 saw signs of an upturn across the industry. We have some interesting opportunities in the pipeline and Franks’ local expertise will no doubt help us complete and add to those prospects.”


In the most recent issue of the Gresham Monitor, the firm’s independent survey of the UK middle market sector, 46 per cent of the Midlands managers questioned expect to undertake a transaction in the year ahead.


In addition to its Birmingham office, Gresham also has offices in Manchester and London. Transactions completed by Gresham are typically valued at between £5m and £75m. The group focuses on management buyouts, build-ups and transactions requiring expansion and replacement capital.


Gresham has achieved a gross realised internal investment return of 34 per cent and a multiple of 2.4 times on 101 investments made since 1980. Despite gaining independence earlier this year, Zurich Financial Services has agreed to commit £265m of funds under management to Gresham.