New private equity firm opens in Glasgow with £92m in funds

Glasgow Scotstoun

A new industrially focused UK support services fund with £92 million of equity capital for investment in small and mid-sized businesses across the UK has launched in Glasgow.

Aliter Capital, which raised its funds in under six months and will also have a base in London, is to be headed up by Scots entrepreneur Billy Allan.

The launch of the new firm was confirmed yesterday as it revealed the completion of its maiden equity investment.

Aliter said it has invested an undisclosed sum in Edwin James Holdings, a Glasgow-headquartered engineering business.

Industry sources said Aliter’s fund was the first of its kind to be focused on businesses in the support services sector, a market now estimated to be worth £300 billion.

“The founders of Aliter combine a highly unusual blend of industrial experience and investment expertise,” a spokesman said, “with proven experience of successfully building a range of support services businesses over the past 20 years, including EJ Stiell, Europa and ASCO Group.”

Billy Allan, co-founder and managing partner of Aliter, said: “The support services sector is dynamic, with many small and mid-sized businesses performing well in their regions and sub sectors.

“We believe there is a huge opportunity to find and grow these businesses to create national operators and market leaders. We can offer these businesses a powerful combination of equity investment and hands on experienced operational support, to help them grow and to create value for shareholders that are looking to stay on with their businesses or de-risk their positions through a sale.”

Allan joined EJ Stiell in 1976, becoming CEO in the late 1990s. With 3i’s backing, he was instrumental in making Stiell the UK’S leading independent facilities management business before selling it to Alfred Mcalpine in 2002.

Backed by Phoenix Equity, he then went on to lead ASCO Group, building an international logistics support business, before selling it to private equity firm Doughty Hanson in 2012.

He is joined at Aliter by Greig Brown, former CEO of Europa and Emcor, Andy Galloway, former commercial director at Stiell and Europa, and private equity professional Andrew Busby, formerly of HIG Capital and Brookfield.

Aliter Capital was advised by Acanthus and O’Melveny & Myers on the fundraising.