Privet agrees fifth turnaround deal

Property refurbishing company HWA – behind the recent renovations at London’s V&A Museum – is Privet Capital’s latest portfolio company.

Mid-market turnaround firm Privet Capital has closed its fifth deal, acquiring specialist building contractor HWA for an undisclosed sum. SME-focused lender Reward Capital has provided additional working capital facilities, according to a statement.

HWA focuses on high-end restorations, refurbishments and maintenance of properties in central London and surrounding counties. It was recently awarded a restoration project at London’s Victora & Albert Museum.

V&A: HWA project

Though the company hadn’t gone into administration, it had been adversely affected by the downturn in the construction and housing markets.

“It’s a business that grew quite a lot in the 2000s and probably a little bit too much in the boom,” said Stephen Keating, founder of Privet. “It overstretched itself a bit so that left it with some issues that came to a bit of ahead toward the end of last year. So we’re streamlining it back to the business that is suitable for the current market, stabilising it and strengthening it to move forward.”

HWA was last profitable in 2008 when it had a turnover of £80 million. Keating said Privet aims to stabilise the business' revenues at between £60 million and £70 million, “but run it in a more effeicient way so it becomes more profitable”.

Privet was founded in 2007 bt Keating, who had left 3i’s workout and restructuring team after a decade with the private equity firm. The firm funds investments on a deal-by-deal basis, typically investing £1 million to £10 million in UK companies with turnover between £10 million and £200 million.

Its portfolio includes high street furniture company Lombok and aerospace component manufacturer Thermal Engineering.