Langholm profits dip in recession

LANGHOLM Capital, the buyout group whose portfolio includes a 67 per cent stake in high-end food brand Tyrrells Potato Chips, saw its profits slide by almost a quarter last year.<br /><br />A handful of senior dealmakers &ndash; Bert Wiegman, Christian Lorenzen, Oliver Wyncoll and Paul Richings &ndash; shared a total of &pound;1.7m in salary and bonuses for the year to the end of June, significantly less than their haul of &pound;2.1m in 2008.<br /><br />The figures reflect what was a difficult time for the private equity industry. Despite recent indications of a pick-up in merger activity, the first half of 2009 was the slowest since 2002 in terms of the number of deals completed, according to numbers collected by takeover research firm PitchBook.<br /><br />A source close to Langham said the previous year&rsquo;s figures had been buoyed by a bumper crop of disposals, with the firm&rsquo;s stake in Dorset Cereals being sold for &pound;50m and its stake in pensions specialist Just Retirement being whittled down. <br /><br />The partners have also been in the process of winding up one fund and launching another.<br /><br />Langholm is a niche player that buys stakes in consumer-facing companies. Other investments on its books include Lumene, a Finnish beauty products maker and Cane-Line, which designs outdoor furniture. The partnership was founded by Wiegman in 2002.<br /><br />In August, following nearly two years of pricier credit and more volatile returns from the stockmarket, Wiegman warned: &ldquo;It&rsquo;s game over for the big leveraged deals. I don&rsquo;t think it will ever go back to how it was.&rdquo;<br /><br />In 2009 Langham donated &pound;150 to charity, down from &pound;3,000 the year before.