Moulton raises £143m for investment vehicle to target distressed companies

PRIVATE equity industry veteran Jon Moulton has raised £142.4m to invest in struggling businesses through his new investment vehicle.

Moulton, perhaps best known for his involvement in an unsuccessful bid to buy collapsed Midlands car maker MG Rover, will advise Better Capital, which will list on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) on tomorrow.

The group’s adviser and broker will be Numis Securities.

Moulton said the fund would take “full advantage” of turnaround opportunities in the downturn.

The firm will target distressed companies in the UK and Ireland.

Moulton sounded out investors for the vehicle after a troubled split with former colleagues at Alchemy Partners in September.

Moulton said last month that he would put a “material amount” of money into the new venture, but he declined to say how much.

Moulton will keep 10.5 per cent of Better Capital. Other investors will include Ruffer Investment Management with 29.5 per cent, BlackRock Investment Management (UK) with 9.8 per cent, Scottish Widows Investment Partnership with 9.8 per cent, Aviva Investors Global Services with seven per cent, Artemis Investment Management holds 4.2 per cent, Baillie Gifford & Co with four per cent and Merseyside Pension Fund with 3.5 per cent.

Founder and chief executive of Numis Corporation, Oliver Hemsley, is leading the broker’s team advising Better Capital.

Hemsley set up Numis in the early 1990s and has built it into one of the larger independent UK stockbrokers.

Hemsley is married with three children and lives in London and Dorset. Numis corporate brokers David Benda and Nathan Brown will join Hemsley in advising Better Capital.

The firm, which has about 180 staff, has offices in London and New York. It has more than 120 corporate clients including 16 FTSE 250 firms and a strong balance sheet with more than £70m of cash.

Its clients include online betting group PartyGaming, pub group Punch, retailer Mothercare, online fashion retailer Asos and SVG Capital.

It says it is “ideally placed” to help British companies through the current difficult trading.

Numis, which has raised £353m of equity funds for corporate clients, posted full year losses of £10.5m earlier this month due to investment losses and share scheme charges, but said it had made an excellent start to the new financial year.