Gresham makes 12x return from drug company

Buyout firm Gresham Private Equity has sold Penn Pharmaceuticals after increasing profits tenfold.

Gresham Private Equity has sold Welsh company Penn Pharmaceuticals for £67 million (€98 million, $134 million) to UK mid-market firm LDC generating a 12-times return on its investment.

Penn is a drug delivery business and the company tests, develops and manufactures products for companies both for the UK domestic market and internationally.

Penn’s growth and profitability are above the drug sector average as its turnover has increased fivefold since 1999 and profits have increased more than tenfold, accrording to Gresham.

The number of people employed by the firm has doubled from 100 to 200 people.

Craig Rennie, chief executive of Penn said: “Some people have a bad opinion of venture capital but I have had nothing but support and a tremendous contribution from Gresham.”

Gresham backed the £12 million management buy-out of Penn in September 2000 and de-merged Penn into two businesses, Penn Pharmaceutical Holdings and Penn T. In October 2004, Gresham sold the Penn T business to Celgene, the US oncology business, for £80 million.  After this sale Gresham restructured Penn Pharmeceutical’s core business and developed its international presence.

Gresham invests in businesses valued up to £100 million and also owns Minivator and MSS in the healthcare sector.