First exit for Sovereign Capital fund

Sovereign Capital Partners has realised its investment in specialist education provider SENAD Group through the sale of the business in a £130m (US$239.5m) deal to an unnamed corporate buyer. The transaction has generated an IRR of 110% and represents a return of 6x money.

This is the first exit from the £120m Sovereign Capital Limited Partnership I fund (SCLP I), which closed in May 2002. SCLP I cash returns have now exceeded 1.5x money, with a fund IRR of 47%. SCLP I has a further 14 investments pursuing Sovereign’s buy-and-build strategy.

SENAD, which operates residential schools for children and care homes for young adults with Special Education Needs (SEN) in Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Wales, was created in January 2003 by Sovereign Capital from the £22m institutional buyout of Honormead Schools and the subsequent £9.5m acquisition of Principal Care Services. Since then, the business has grown both organically and through three further acquisitions, Tregynon Hall, Aran Hall and Orchard School. Today. SENAD offers over 400 places for children and young adults across seven schools.

Sovereign Capital recruited the SENAD management team, which will remain with the group. Terry Lee, previously chief executive, becomes chairman; Brian Jones, previously operations director, becomes chief executive and Kathryn Baines continues as finance director.

Sovereign Capital is an active investor in health and social care. Recent investments include the £22m acquisition of Alkare, a specialist provider of residential care for adults with mental health needs.