NatWest Development Capital has opened a new office, this time in Edinburgh under the direction of Derek Gardner. Gardner, who is expected in time to build his own team, will share offices already populated by Royal Bank Private Equity and Royal Bank Ventures teams. Royal Bank Private Equity, the recently launched Royal Bank Ventures (see evcj March 2001, p10) and NatWest Development Capital are all part of The Royal Bank of Scotland’s private equity business.
NatWest Development Capital has retained the NatWest branding following NatWest’s acquisition by The Royal Bank of Scotland in March of last year to enable it to differentiate its activities from that of Royal Bank Private Equity, of which it is a part. NatWest Development Capital focuses on private equity investments in the GBP1 million to GBP20 million range.
Deals above NatWest Development Capital’s GBP20 million upper threshold fall into the remit of Royal Bank Private Equity, which targets deals in the GBP20 million to GBP300 million bracket. Royal Bank Private Equity looks at the financial services, aerospace and specialist engineering, IT software and services, travel and leisure and, business and support services sectors. NatWest Development Capital on the other hand has no preferred sectors in which it wishes to invest.
Gardner leaves behind a corporate development position at Miller Group where he was involved in the acquisitions of Birch plc and Crest Nicholson Northern. But in a way this is a return to the fold for Gardner who spent eight years as part of the team at NatWest Equity Partners (now Bridgepoint Capital). At NatWest Equity Partners, Gardner was part of the team that established its Scottish office in 1989 and he went on to move to Manchester where he was the director in charge of the North West of England.
Also included in The Royal Bank of Scotland’s private equity interests are Asset Management Structured Unit, which invests in real estate projects in the UK in all sectors and concentrates on deals in the GBP2 million to GBP150 million range, and South of England Technology Fund. This is a joint venture between The Royal Bank of Scotland’s private equity business (51 per cent owner) and Peel Hunt plc (49 per cent owner). This joint venture was founded at the end of last year with an initial equity and debt commitment of GBP10 million split equally between the two shareholders.