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Shard Credit Partners Direct Lending Fund I posts second exit with GadCap Debt Repayment

(Photo shows key senior management Paul Seccombe (left) and Michael Baker (right))


GadCap Technical Solutions Ltd (“GadCap”) has completed its final debt repayment to Shard Credit Partners Direct Lending Fund I, five years after completing its debt-funded primary MBO in February 2019.

GadCap was established through the spin out of the business and assets of the power generation and aerospace solutions division of a multinational engineering conglomerate in the North East of England.

The direct lending investment by Shard Credit Partners was the first of several primary non-sponsored MBOs financed from its inaugural UK lower mid-market direct lending fund.

Despite encountering numerous macroeconomic challenges throughout its first five years as an independent business, GadCap never missed an interest payment and ensured that it repaid the maximum amount of debt possible each year from surplus cash generated from operations.


Alastair Brown, CEO of Shard Credit Partners commented:

“The MBO of GadCap is a model for uncomplicated private credit investing in the UK lower mid-market.  The senior management team are now in the enviable position of owning a significant majority of the ordinary shares in a highly cash generative business with zero debt outstanding.  As a minority shareholder alongside Paul and Michael we look forward to the next stage of our exciting journey together”.

Michael Baker said:

“We will be eternally grateful to Shard Credit Partners for providing us initially with the funds to secure the MBO, but also for their continued belief in the team and the support given over these past five years in helping us realise and achieve our goals.”

Paul Seccombe added:

“We are immensely proud, having come through a couple of uncertain economic years to have successfully paid off the facility loan after five years as we set out in our business plan when forming the company.  We are now in position to review our strategy and provide a platform for the future using Shard as our credit partner as we continue our venture.”


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JST Services (Scotland) Ltd completes acquisition of pier and haulage division of TSL Contractors Limited, Isle of Mull, West Coast of Scotland.

Roundwood timber being loaded onto a cargo ship at Fishnish Pier, Isle of Mull.


Shard Credit Partners’ investee company JST Services (Scotland) Ltd (“JST”) has acquired the pier and haulage division of TSL Contractors Limited (“TSL”), located on the Isle of Mull off the West Coast of Scotland. This strategic acquisition extends JST’s operations in the Scottish timber transportation and logistics industry. Approximately 50,000 tonnes of roundwood logs are loaded onto cargo ships at Fishnish pier each year, to be transported across the open sea to processing centres on the UK mainland.

JST is a unique provider of mobile port logistics and materials handling and transportation services at ports around the UK and Ireland. From its base in Ayrshire, South West Scotland, JST operates a fleet of mobile cranes, timber haulage vehicles, timber handling vehicles, and mobile port handling equipment. Much of its equipment has been developed specially with its clients and equipment manufacturers to undertake complex materials handling tasks, creating a unique IP and patent base.

TSL has operated Fishnish pier on an exclusive basis on the Isle of Mull since its construction in 2014 on behalf of the Scottish Forestry Commission (Forest and Land Scotland) which manages 470,000 hectares of Scotland’s forests and woodlands. TSL’s fleet of HGV’s haul around 50,000 tonnes of timber per year from the surrounding Mull forests to the pier, where it is loaded directly onto cargo ships for transport to timber processing facilities. This operation provides valuable economic activity in a sparsely populated area of the country, in addition to providing an essential service in the maintenance of the ecological supply-chain of the island.

The Fishnish pier activities on Mull are viewed as being particularly attractive to JST, not only from an economic perspective, but also from a strategic perspective. The integration of the Fishnish pier operation into the wider JST Floating Piers division strengthens its network and offering to customer engaged in sustaining the Scottish commercial forestry industry.

Richard Jennings, managing director of JST said:

“This strategic bolt on acquisition to JST’s Floating Piers division in Scotland will enable us to further expand our offering to key customers, especially the Scottish Forestry Commission”.

Alastair Brown, CEO of Shard Credit Partners, comments:

“this acquisition is strongly accretive and will help to accelerate JST’s expansion in the Highlands and Islands, complimenting recent strong organic growth achieved throughout the UK and Ireland since our investment in the business three years ago”.

Legal advice to JST was provided by Gateley Legal, led by Oliver Harker. Financial DD was provided by Azets, led by Graham Cunning and Joseph Sheridan.

Shard Credit Partners’ strategy is to become a leading provider of capital to entrepreneur and management-owned high growth businesses and private equity-owned companies focused on achieving transformational growth and expansion in the UK regions.  During the past five years, Shard Credit Partners has invested more than £150.0 million in supporting regional Management Buy-Out transactions throughout the UK regions and M&A buy-and-build acquisition strategies, as well as growth capital expenditure financing.

Continue reading “JST Services (Scotland) Ltd completes acquisition of pier and haulage division of TSL Contractors Limited, Isle of Mull, West Coast of Scotland.”

Shard Credit Partners provides £900K in support of the acquisition of The Educational Guidance Service Ltd by eQuality Solutions Ltd.

Shard Credit Partners has provided financing of £900K to portfolio company eQuality Solutions Ltd (“eQS”) to facilitate the acquisition of expert psychology business The Education Guidance Service (“EGS”).

eQS is a leading disability, diversity and inclusion specialist, headquartered in the North East. The group specialises in the support of students that qualify for an annual grant under the Disabled Students Allowance (“DSA”), as they enter higher education within the UK. The acquisition of EGS is the third acquisition by eQS in only ten months since the primary Management Buy-Out (“MBO”) in December 2020, as the group successfully executes its M&A buy-and-build strategy with the financial firepower being provided by the Shard Credit Partners.

EGS is based in Halifax, West Yorkshire, and has over 40 employees. The company was established over 22 years ago and is one of the largest providers of educational and occupational psychologists. EGS provides services to children, young people and adults who experience specific learning difficulties and social and emotional barriers both within educational settings and the workplace.

Due to EGS’ complementary capabilities, the combined group will benefit from positive synergies by building on eQS’s disability services division, which provides specialist assistive technology equipment, software, training and mentoring in the education, workplace and government sectors.

EGS will add £1.7 million of revenue and c. £250K of EBITDA to the Group and will increase the number of employees to c.80 in addition to 350 freelance psychologists, consultants, trainers, and delivery engineers across the UK. This acquisition, combined with the completion of two recent acquisitions, strongly positions eQS to achieve £30 million turnover by 2023.

The acquisition financing was arranged by Shard Credit Partners as part of a committed £12 million senior secured unitranche facility provided in December 2020 in support of the primary MBO of eQS and to provide firepower for strategic acquisitions.

Andy Gough, CEO of eQS views this acquisition as being pivotal to the group’s ‘buy-and-build’ growth strategy and in becoming the leading global provider of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) solutions. Andy commented: “The past couple of years have not only seen a global health crisis but also an awakening regarding inclusion and acceptance of individuals identifying with a cognitive disability. This has created an even bigger demand for cognitive disability assessments within both the educational and workplace settings.

EGS is a leader in this market and quickly became our top choice for our next acquisition due to its capability and outstanding reputation. Upon first meeting with EGS founder Alex Griffiths, it was clear EGS is a strong strategic fit for the Group, aligning with our purpose and mission. I believe we share a mutual passion for helping people achieve their best by removing barriers. I am looking forward to welcoming the EGS team into the eQS family and believe we will achieve great things together.”

EGS founder Alex Griffiths said: “I have had many organisations interested in acquiring EGS over the last couple of years but eQS was the only acquirer I seriously considered for the business.  The eQS team stood out as down to earth people who understood what we were about and demonstrated a clear passion for looking after the EGS brand and developing it in the ‘EGS way’.  There was a synergy between our business culture and values, and a very obvious desire to look after the exceptional team who have helped us create this legacy of doing good and unlocking potential.”

Alastair Brown, CEO of Shard Credit Partners, commented: “We are pleased to continue to support our investment in eQS with additional funding to complete this important acquisition. As a lender we are very focused on supporting the environmental, social and governance agenda and very much look forward to the ongoing growth and development of eQS and EGS as they move together continuing with their great work.”

Advising eQS on the acquisition were Corporate Financiers Carl Swansbury, Rhiannon Nightingale, Connor McBride and Ben Kain of Newcastle-based RG Corporate Finance (RGCF), with financial and tax due diligence delivered by Grahame Maughan and Simon Whiteside of RG.

Legal advice was provided by Corporate Partner Tom Pollard and Corporate Solicitor Liam Stubbs of Ward Hadaway LLP.

Shard Credit Partners’ strategy is to become a leading provider of capital to entrepreneur and management-owned companies, VC backed growth businesses and private equity-owned companies focused on achieving transformational growth and expansion in the UK regions. During the past four years, Shard Credit Partners has invested more than £130.0 million in supporting regional Management Buy-Out transactions and M&A buy-and-build acquisition strategies, as well as growth capital expenditure financing.

About Shard Credit Partners:

Shard Credit Partners Ltd is an alternative investment fund manager focused on private credit strategies in the UK lower mid-market.  Its funds seek to generate superior risk-adjusted returns from conservatively structured senior secured credit investments with equity upside. Fund strategies include direct lending and tech-focused venture debt.

Shard Credit Partners is currently investing from its debut direct lending fund Shard Credit Partners Fund I, which held a first close in October 2017 at £90.2 million.  Shard Credit Partners plans to hold a first close on its second UK lower mid-market direct lending fund during Q1 2022.

Shard Credit Partners invests in solid small to medium sized businesses with strong management teams, supporting them by providing transformative growth capital and event driven financing in support of innovation, growth and expansion.  The fund invests in businesses across all sectors and throughout the UK.

The firm has a robust ESG focus; in particular, it is a strong supporter of female entrepreneurs and firms with meaningful female leadership, ownership and senior management.

Recent investments include the venture debt refinancing of PassFort Limited in May 2021, the venture debt financing for Rezatec Limited in August 2021, the financing in support of the acquisition of The Technology Group by Gradwell Communications in March 2021, as well as the refinancing and shareholder reorganisation of Midwest Mechanical and Electrical Services Ltd in August 2021. The fund completed financing transactions for the MBI of JST Services Ltd in Scotland, the MBO and buy-and-build strategy of eQuality Solutions Ltd in the North-East of England, and the MBO of Chameleon Technology Ltd in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, each of which completed in December 2020.

In 2020, Shard Credit Partners ranked eighth in the Debtwire UK Direct Lender league table published by Acuris. Shard Credit Partners was recently awarded Alternative Finance Provider of the Year 2020 (North-east region) in the Insider Dealmakers Awards.

Shard Credit Partners Ltd is an Appointed Representative of Shard Capital AIFM LLP, authorised and regulated by the FCA (number 615463).




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