3i supports growth of Hayley Conference Centres with £41m investment

29 Sep 2005

3i, Europe's leading private equity and venture capital company, today announces it has invested £41m for a minority stake in Hayley Conference Centres ('Hayley').  The investment capitalises the business at over £180m, replacing the current institutional shareholder, Legal and General Ventures, and supports the business for further growth.

Hayley, headquartered in Milton Keynes, is one of the leading dedicated Conference Centre businesses in the UK.  It has achieved market leading growth of 17% CAGR over the past 5 years by delivering a quality, bespoke service to its blue chip customer base.  Hayley operates 8 dedicated centres in the Midlands, North West and Home Counties and employs 800 staff.

The Management includes the founder and chairman Alan English, chief executive officer Norman Bellone and sales and operations director Jane Littlewood. Together they will be the majority shareholders of the business.

With the support of 3i, the business intends to invest over £80m over the next 4 years to continue its organic UK expansion and export its winning formula to mainland Europe. In addition, Hayley is excited about the opportunities of acquisitive growth and believe the company is uniquely positioned as a key market consolidator. 

Jane Littlewood, Hayley sales and operations director commented: "We have made a significant investment in the people in our business to deliver such an ambitious growth strategy, both within and outside the UK.  We feel that 3i, with its financial strength, investment culture and sector knowledge, is the perfect partner to help us achieve this growth and realise our potential."

David Whileman, 3i Investment Director, commented: "Hayley's strength lies with its management team and their strong service ethic.  The combination of the team, the quality of the business and the opportunity to grow in the UK and internationally, plays very well to the strengths of 3i's growth capital business."

Notes to editors

About Hayley Conference Centres
Hayley operates eight residential conference and training centres which are dedicated to business users. These are Horwood House at Milton Keynes; Sedgebrook Hall at Northampton; Ettington Chase at Stratford on Avon; Cranage Hall south Manchester; Wotton House near Dorking; Beaumont House at Old Windsor; Eastwood Hall near Nottingham and Alexandra House, Swindon

About 3i
3i is a world leader in private equity and venture capital.  We focus on Buyouts, Growth Capital and Venture Capital and invest across Europe, in the United States and in Asia Pacific.  Our competitive advantage comes from our international network and the strength and breadth of our relationships in business.  These underpin the value that we deliver to our portfolio and to our shareholders.

3i's Growth Capital business focuses on investing minority stakes in high growth companies expanding organically or through acquisition.  The business currently manages 300 investments across Europe and Asia with a value in excess of €1.8bn and invests across a broad range of industry sectors, including healthcare, financial services, food & drink, media, IT services, support services and oil & gas. 

Recent investments include Nimbus, India, €36m; Boxer, Sweden, €84m; Clinica Baviera, Spain, €40m; Williams Lea, UK, €68m; Renta Corporation, Spain, €20m; Novem CID, Germany, €25m; Vetoquinol, France, €20m and PEARL, Singapore, €8m.  Recent exits include Cannon Avent, UK, €450m; Pets at Home, UK, €330m; Wood Group, UK, €37m; Ascent Technology, UK, €34m; Raynal, France, €0.5m and Highland Energy, Germany, €178m.