Moulton eyes 10 deals for new vehicle

JON MOULTON is looking closely at the purchase of up to 10 stricken companies, including an automotive parts manufacturer, a building supplies firm and a garden equipment maker.

The private equity guru, whose new investment vehicle Better Capital made a successful debut on the stock market last week, told CityA.M. that the rate of companies getting into trouble had picked up into the latter stages of this year and he expected even more turnaround opportunities in 2010.

He said Better Capital was looking at two financial services companies, an IT firm, as well as an auto parts maker, a building supplies company and a “highly seasonal” garden equipment firm.

He said there were “no immediate plans” to make Better Capital’s first acquisition but added:
“Things can move fast when it comes to turnarounds”.

Moulton said: “Overwhelmingly these are companies in trouble that come to us and we believe there will be even more in 2010. There are many reasons for that but firstly it should give you some idea of the state of this economy.”

He said the government would be forced to rein in all spending next year, leaving private companies in certain sectors that have received financial support more likely to get into trouble.

Moulton also believes that the banks will make getting finance even harder next year.

Moulton, who resigned in acrimonious circumstances from Alchemy Partners this year, raised £142m from investors to float Better Capital.

He said he expects to spend the war chest over the next two years in up to 15 deals, denying weekend reports that he had his eye on up to 50 companies.

Moulton’s most high-profile deal during his 15-year tenure at Alchemy was a failed attempt to take over the stricken car maker Rover.