LDC backs travel business

The mid-market private equity house will put £45m to work on holiday reservation systems specialists Anite Travel.

LDC, the mid-market private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group, is backing the £45 million (€55 million; $75 million) management buyout of Anite Travel Limited, the travel business of Anite plc, according to a statement.

Anite Travel specialises in providing reservation systems to tour operators such as TUI and Thomas Cook. Based in Slough, the company employs around 160 people and has been developing reservation systems for tour, cruise and ferry operators for more than 30 years.

The sale will see Anite Travel operate as an independent entity run by the current management team, led by managing director Mike Kingswood.

LDC’s investment will help the business fund product development, expand into new products and markets, and make bolt-on acquisitions, the firm said.

“With the rebound in the economy, the travel industry is set for renewed growth and Anite Travel is well positioned to capitalise on this trend and to help drive the sector’s performance and profitability through continuing to develop and deliver best-in-class reservation solutions,” said John Harper, investment director at LDC, in a statement.

LDC has previous experience in both the travel and technology sectors, including investments in Forest Holidays, Corporate Travel International and web hosting company UK2.

LDC was advised by Oakley Capital Corporate Finance, PwC, Ernst & Young and CMS Cameron McKenna.

The firm has had a relatively busy start to the year. In April, it invested in Prism, a manufacturer and provider of specialist movement and handling solutions. It also supported the management buyout of telecommunications company Connect Communications. In March, it backed Warrington-based procurement services business CEL Procurement.

On the exit front, LDC recently sold its stake in Benson Group, a UK-based carton manufacturer, for £100 million to New York-listed Graphic Packaging International, netting a return that was “just over 2x”, according to a person familiar with the matter.