Lyceum Capital builds on Grenfell momentum investing £40m in fire compliance business Churchesfire

 
Lucy White
Churchesfire Lyceum Capital
Churchesfire ensures a building is compliant with fire safety regulations and that all its safety equipment is in working order (Source: Getty)

The fire in Grenfell Tower earlier this year, which killed at least 80 people, caused ripples across society as the scale of apparent safety failings in the apartment block became clear.

Now one private equity investor is aiming to build a national fire safety compliance business to help corporates prevent similar catastrophes.

Lyceum Capital has acquired Churchesfire, a business which serves Audi, B&Q and Royal Mail, in a £40m deal and aims to use it as a platform to build a responsible go-to national leader.

“Grenfell was the most awful tragedy imaginable,” said Lyceum co-founder Jeremy Hand, who explained that the firm was already well into exclusivity on the Churchesfire deal when the blaze occurred.

“It does highlight the challenge which corporates face in protecting their buildings, their staff and their customers from this risk.”

Lyceum plans to tap the UK's highly fragmented fire safety compliance market, valued at more than £1.5bn, to expand Churchesfire's market share through a buy-and-build strategy.

“There's lots of small local players who haven’t really got the oomph to scale but you can pick up for a relatively good value,” said Hand.

“There are very few national players, so if you're a corporate with a national infrastructure and you want a certain level of service across the country, Churchesfire is one of the few businesses that can do that.”

Read more: Grenfell Tower fire: Sadiq Khan tells Prime Minister Theresa May the community needs answers

Churchesfire's founder, Paul Topley, was looking to take a step back from the business but will retain a minority stake.

Under his leadership, the technology-enabled business has built a base of more than 8,000 commercial customers over its 25-year history.

Churchesfire has grown revenues at more than 30 per cent per annum over the past three years and now generates earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) of more than £5m.

Read more: Sadiq Khan has ordered a review of cuts on the London Fire Brigade with a report due in the autumn

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