Corporate Finance And Debt Advisory

Seneca Partners has a highly regarded team of experienced mid-market corporate finance advisory professionals offering clients a bespoke and partner-led service. We work closely with shareholders, management teams, private equity houses and financial institutions on a broad range of corporate finance transactions including:


Company Disposals

We specialise in the sale of small to medium sized businesses (often described as the mid-market) for a range of clients whether owner-managers, individual or institutional shareholders of privately held companies, or for publicly listed groups.

Our objective is to obtain the best overall result for our clients which means we not only focus on the headline price but also the structure of the deal, form of consideration as well as the non-financial aspects of a transaction.

Our research capability and extensive network of contacts ensures that we are able to access potential buyers from around the globe and to ensure you only have to deal with serious trade and financial buyers. Whether trade or financial our aim with every mandate is to find strategic buyers for your business that will offer superior terms.

We will advise clients on the alternative exit strategies and make recommendations as to the transaction most likely to suit your needs. We would typically run a competitive auction process amongst a limited pool of strategic buyers, actively leading negotiations and managing the sale process through to legal completion. During the process we would liaise with your other professional advisers to ensure the transaction timetable is managed efficiently and that the tax efficiency of your deal is maximised. We also ensure that confidentiality is strictly maintained throughout the process.

In our experience a well-managed process significantly enhances the overall terms of a transaction and the likelihood of successful completion.


Management Buy-Outs/Buy-Ins

We have extensive experience of working with management teams on successful Buy-outs/Buy-ins and development capital deals.

Transactions of this type are both technically complicated and time consuming. They can also carry significant risks for management teams, so it is critical that your adviser has the experience and knowledge to guide you through the process. We aim to minimise the risk to the management team by ensuring the deal is properly structured and attractive to potential investors whilst always looking to maintain the best possible equity shareholding and terms for management.

We have excellent relationships with leading UK private equity houses and providers of debt and asset finance. As we understand the investors' requirements, we are able to assist and guide the management team on the production of a suitable business plan that ensures the investment opportunity and its potential is properly portrayed.

Project management of the Buy-out/Buy-in process or development capital deal from inception through to legal completion is a core part of our service. Many processes involve large numbers of interested parties and their professional advisers. A well-managed process helps to reduce the risk of a deal failing and drives an efficient timetable.

We are able to assist and guide management teams in selecting other advisers such as tax and legal professionals. It is critical that your advisers work as a team to optimise the transaction from a financial, taxation and legal perspective.


Corporate Acquisitions

Our dedicated research team can assist in identifying acquisition targets for corporate clients and 'bolt-on' for private equity backed businesses. We are able to research potential targets both in the UK and overseas and make initial contact with potential targets often on a 'no-names' basis and initiate discussions with the vendor shareholders.

In our experience, the way initial contact is managed makes a huge difference to how the approach is perceived and significantly enhances the possibility of establishing sensible dialogue with a target. We would then work with you to formulate an offer and negotiate detailed heads of terms with the vendors and their professional advisors. Depending on your requirements, we can project manage the deal through to completion and assist with any financing requirements.


Accelerated Solutions

Seneca Partners offers advice to businesses that are facing financial problems or that have suffered an 'unexpected event' that requires an urgent response to stabilise their position.

Many businesses have faced a difficult trading environment as the banking and financial crisis impacted on both their business and the markets in which they operate. For some, this means that they are over-leveraged and need a long-term solution. Many businesses have a legacy structure no longer supported by current levels of profitability and others may have suffered from a single event such as the loss of a significant customer. In many cases the business has a debt burden that is not sustainable and the current stakeholders may have limited capacity to support the current position.

Often the requirement for advice is time critical and our team of corporate finance and debt advisory professionals are able to combine their skill sets to arrive at innovative and bespoke solutions that help protect stakeholder value. Seneca has a successful track record of managing such processes, requiring judgement, innovation and speed.

If the solution requires an injection of capital, we have access to both Seneca managed funds as well as excellent relationships with funds primarily focused on investing in distressed or stressed businesses. Equally if the solution requires a quick sale (of some or all of the business or its assets), we are used to managing such processes and have the resources to identify buyers quickly and efficiently.


Debt Advisory

The UK and worldwide debt markets have changed dramatically over the last few years. It remains challenging for SMEs to raise debt finance and even high quality, well respected businesses often struggle to secure a debt package on reasonable terms.

Many businesses are either currently operating with sub-optimal debt capital structures that limit their ability to operate efficiently and ultimately restrict growth, or are struggling with the burden of excess debt and an unsupportive banker.

The Seneca Partners Debt Advisory team is one of the most experienced operating outside of London and includes individuals with senior level experience working in the leading UK commercial banks and many years of advising clients on all debt related matters. As well as excellent relationships this means they have a fundamental understanding of the challenges banks and other debt providers face in the current market and the knowledge to tailor solutions that meet our clients’ needs.

Our debt advisory service can assist clients in a wide variety of situations, such as:

  • A working capital requirement to fund growth;
  • In breach or likely to breach existing covenants;
  • Distressed business or parent company;
  • Debt requirement to fund substantial acquisitions;
  • Maturing debt facilities which need to be re-financed;
  • Diversification of debt providers preferred or required; or
  • Assessment required of multiple bank offers.

Our team will often perform a strategic review of the situation and identify the key risks and potential solutions. A full implementation plan can involve identification of potential lenders, advice on structure, terms and conditions including covenants as well as management of the process through to completion.

Critically the team are able to identify and address what a bank or debt provider would perceive to be the key credit risks in any proposal ahead of any presentation.

We have strong relationships with the key debt providers which allows us to effect timely introductions whilst maintaining an objective and independent approach at all times.


Fundraising and Development Capital

Fundraising is core to a large number of our broader advisory engagements, whether for example in support of an MBO or to facilitate an acquisition. There are also many situations where satisfying a funding requirement is the principle objective and Seneca Partners has a wide range of experience in advising clients on successful fundraisings. Some typical examples include:

  • refinancing an existing debt facility;
  • raising development capital to commercialise a new product, expand premises or acquire new plant & machinery;
  • raising capital to buy-out a shareholder; or
  • start-up capital to build a new business line.

The Corporate Finance team will often work in conjunction with the Debt Advisory team where we are considering raising debt or debt like capital and together we have raised funds across the full spectrum of risk capital including:

  • Senior Debt (syndicated and bi-lateral bank loans and corporate bonds)
  • Junior / Mezzanine / Second Lien Loans
  • Unsecured Loan Notes
  • Convertible Debt
  • Unitranche / Hybrid Loans
  • Preference Shares
  • Private Equity
  • Venture Capital
  • HNW Private Investor Capital

We maintain very active dialogue with funders across this spectrum in order to ensure we can effectively advise our clients on the optimal sources of capital in their situation. This judgment is invariably more complex than just considering the price and availability of the capital. Covenants, flexibility, control requirements and overall appetite are often critical decision making factors, as is the behavior and track record of the funder in circumstances where the business hasn’t performed to expectations.

Our advisory service supports all aspects of a fundraising process. We will assist a business in assessing its funding requirements, prepare for the process, identify the most appropriate funders and present itself and the investment opportunity in the optimal way so as to address the requirements of the funders.

In addition we provide strategic advice to assist owners and management teams considering ownership and business development options. We are committed to understanding our clients’ needs, building trust and lasting business relationships that ultimately deliver successful transactions and solutions. Each client and deal is of utmost importance to us and our hard-earned reputation. The team has an enviable network of experienced business leaders, corporates and other advisers as well as long standing relationships with banks, private equity houses and other sources of finance including asset based lenders and high net worth individuals. This network, which is further enhanced by the broader Seneca businesses, represents a key differentiator for Seneca Corporate Finance. Whilst there is no typical transaction and as an independent advisory business we have a very flexible approach, the majority of our advisory experience is working with mid-market businesses with valuations of between £1 million and £100 million.


Contact Corporate Finance

corporate@senecapartners.co.uk

01942 295 983


Meet the Team

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Gordon Lane

Gordon qualified as a chartered accountant in 1989 and has over 15 years’ experience in corporate finance lead advisory services. Gordon was a partner at RSM Robson Rhodes until 2002 when he joined BDO in Manchester. He successfully established BDO in the North West corporate finance market and was a key member of the National Corporate Finance Operating Board at BDO for more than five years. Gordon’s experience is principally in mid-market lead advisory deals in the £5 million to £50 million range across a broad range of sectors. Gordon is a FCA and gained a BA (Econ) Hons in accounting and Business Finance from the University of Manchester.

gordon.lane@senecapartners.co.uk

07867 502 768

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Chris Summerscales

Chris has over 14 years’ experience in providing research, analysis and deal origination supporting corporate finance and private equity. Whilst at Seneca Chris has advised on a range of successfully completed transactions including:

  • Advising management on the £16m MBO of Utiligroup funded by NorthEdge;
  • Advising on the sale of Mark Two to Ultra Finishing;
  • Fund raising for Vapour Media; and
  • Strategic advice for a nuclear engineering business.

Before joining Seneca in 2012, Chris was the Head of Research at BDO, working with the national corporate finance team across a wide range of sectors on projects such as strategic reviews, acquisitions, disposals and fundraisings.  Chris was also involved with the International M&A team at BDO advising global businesses looking to enter or develop UK presence through acquisition.  Notable transactions included:

  • £95m sale of Mediavest to Aegis Plc;
  • £20m sale of Hyspec to MD Holdings;
  • £12m sale of B2Net to Proact;
  • Sale of DPM to Global Navigation Solutions;
  • Sale of Christy Costumes to Amscan;
  • £12m MBO of KDC Contractors funded by Barclays Ventures;
  • £132m sale of Eddie Stobart to WPF;
  • £30m acquisition of AW Jenkinson by Stobart Group;
  • £60m acquisition of James Irlam by Stobart Group;
  • Strategic advice to UK businesses Bibby Line Group, Otter Controls, Westinghosue and Stobart Group; and
  • Strategic advice to international businesses Li & Fung (China), Assystem (France), TVS (India), Grontmij (Netherlands) and SGS (Switzerland)

chris.summerscales@senecapartners.co.uk

07880 385 510

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Andrew Stubbs

Andrew works in Seneca Partners Corporate Finance team. He has over 15 years’ experience in corporate finance, private equity and banking. Whilst at Seneca, Andrew has advised on a range of successfully completed transactions including:

• £16m MBO of Utiligroup backed by NorthEdge LLP;
• £42.5m Sale of Clarke & Clarke;
• Sale of Brickability Group (£70m T/O, £4.5m EBITDA);
• £5m growth capital fundraise for Rockar.
• Sale of Translec to Rubicon Partners;
• Sale of Precision Technologies International to an MBI team backed by Panoramic Growth Equity;
• Debt funded buy-out of Towelrads.com;

Before joining Seneca in 2012, Andrew was an Associate Director in Grant Thornton’s Manchester Lead Advisory team advising SME clients across a wide range of sectors on projects such as strategic reviews, acquisitions, disposals and fundraisings. Notable transactions included:

• MBO of Moneyplus Group backed by Palatine Private Equity;
• Sale of Solfex Ltd to Travis Perkins plc;
• Advising Pochin PLC (property and construction business) on the successful disposal of a loss making subsidiary;
• £17m Debt fundraising for Avondale Environmental to develop a materials recycling facility.

Prior to this Andrew spent 3 years as an Investment Director at RBS Private Equity in London where he was responsible for investment and management of the £1.1bn RBS Special Opportunities Fund on behalf of a small group of international pension funds and sovereign wealth funds. Andrew was also involved in some notable transactions outside of the portfolio such as the complex public sale processes for RBS non-core assets, Angel Trains and Sempra Commodities. In addition Andrew took part in the fundraising exercise for a second fund, presenting to over 50 institutional investors across Europe.

Andrew’s career began with 10 years in structured and project finance at BZW (Barclays) and subsequently RBS Global Banking and Markets. Andrew gained a BEng Honours Degree in Aeronautical Engineering at Bristol University and attended the Grange School in Hartford, Cheshire.

Email Andrew

07919 397 238

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Chris Bullough

Chris joined Seneca Partners in January 2016, having spent the previous 2 years at Henley Investments, a real estate focused private equity firm. At Henley, Chris managed the Deals Team and transacted on deals worth several hundred million pounds across multiple sectors and territories, during which time Henley’s AUM tripled to over £800m.

Chris spent the first 6 years of his career at PwC, where he qualified as a chartered accountant in 2010. At PwC Chris worked in the Deals team on a range of buyside, sellside and refinancing engagements, in both the Leeds and London offices. Chris holds a BA Hons degree in European Politics and Law from the University of Leeds and is a keen rugby player.

Email Chris

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Paul Leyland

Paul has over 10 years’ experience of providing business advisory services to the UK SME market. Since joining Seneca in June 2014 he has assisted the team on a number of exercises including company disposals, fundraising and MBO’s.

Prior to joining Seneca, Paul was the Assistant Manager of a Top 40 Accountancy practice and was tasked with developing their Manchester and Leeds offices. During his time with the business he was instrumental in growing revenues by over 7x.

He began his career working within the Audit and Accounts department of UHY Hacker Young’s Manchester office. Here he gained exposure across a breadth of sectors however spent the latter part of his time working with clients in the property industry, helping raise funds for both development and investment portfolios.

Paul achieved the AAT qualification in 2007 and has since completed his ACCA examinations. He has recently began to study for the Corporate Finance qualification.

Email Paul

07551 127 905


Get in Touch

Contact our head office here. If you'd like specific information on certain areas please consult our Investing and Advising pages.

01942 271 746