AnaCap buys Cattles invoice unit

London-based AnaCap Financial Partners has acquired the Cattles Invoice Finance (CIF) business unit from troubled lender Cattle in a £70m deal.

CIF provides is a UK business which specializes in providing alternative funding solutions, like invoice finance and invoice discounting, to UK-based businesses. A 15-year old business, it has six office throughout the UK.

Doug Crawford, chief executive officer of CIF, said: “The invoice finance industry is enjoying unprecedented growth in the current financial climate, and we intend to capitalise on the opportunity that this provides to fund more of the right kinds of deals and develop more tailored products and services in line with the changing needs of the market.”

Parent company Cattles is heading to court as bondholders and lenders fight it out over who will have the first bite of its assets. The business has £700m of bad debts, and is currently negotiating with lenders to agree a standstill agreement following the extension of a £500m facility until the end of 2009.

Crawford continues: “This deal is welcome news for the clients and staff of Cattles Invoice Finance and we are excited by the opportunity to build a stronger business with the support of an experienced parent. Over recent years, we have operated increasingly autonomously from Cattles plc, as it has focused on consumer lending, and AnaCap’s combination of analytical and operational expertise will provide our existing, experienced management team with the resources needed for continued expansion.”

The £70m of capital is coming from AnaCap’s second fund, which closed on €575m in May. The financial services private equity investor now has over €920m of assets under management. AnaCap completed the first ever private equity acquisition of a UK deposit-taking bank when it bought Ruffler.