Graphite sells Huntress

Graphite Enterprise Trust, a quoted investment trust managed by UK mid-market firm Graphite Capital, has sold its 46% stake in Huntress Group, a white collar recruitment specialist, to a Nomura-backed management buyout team.

The sale, understood to be approximately £40m (US$82m), along with a £13.5m refinancing in 2005 from Barclays, has provided the trust with an internal rate of return of 38.5% and 7.6 times the original 2000 buyout.

Huntress provides permanent and temporary staff in the commercial (secretarial and office assistance), accountancy and finance and technology sectors, which combined account for a UK market worth of approximately £8.8bn in revenues.

Under Graphite’s guidance, Huntress has rolled out the model to 17 offices across the UK and produced compound annual growth in revenue of more than 40% in the past five years. For 2007, sales are expected to exceed £75m.

Graphite Enterprise Trust has total assets of £380m. Graphite Capital closed a £475m seventh fund in May of this year.