Panoramic Growth Equity exits Solfex Energy Systems

  • Panoramic expected to net 120% IRR on initial investment
  • First exit from Panoramic Enterprise Capital Fund I

Panoramic Growth Equity (“Panoramic”), the leading equity investor in fast growing, entrepreneurial companies, today announced that its renewable energy distribution specialist business, Solfex Energy Systems (“Solfex”), has been sold to Travis Perkins Plc.

The sale represents the first exit from the Panoramic Enterprise Capital Fund I, which held its final close in September 2010 and was oversubscribed at £34m.

The sale has generated an IRR of 62% for Panoramic, in just 16 months since it invested £1.25million into the business, in September 2011. This return is expected to increase to an IRR of 120% following the earn out period. With Panoramic’s backing Solfex has seen its profitability increase substantially and turnover has grown from £5m to £22m in the past 2 years. The business has also broadened its product range and service offering and tripled headcount from five to fifteen employees over the same period.

Last month, Solfex was listed as the UK’s 5th fastest growing private company in Britain’s 100 fastest growing private companies in the annual Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100. The business was recognised by Fast Track as a result of a cumulative annual growth rate in turnover of 179% over the past three years. This growth is expected to continue, with Solfex’s revenues and profits expected to grow by a further 50% in the current financial year.

Based in Preston, Lancashire, Solfex was established in 2006 by Stuart and Susan Cooper. With Panoramic’s backing the business has grown to become one of the largest renewable energy systems integrators in the UK. With a national presence, a strong brand and a reputation for excellence the business utilises its distribution platform to integrate and supply components to the UK’s renewable companies.

Malcolm Kpedekpo, partner at Panoramic, comments: “This is a great result for Panoramic as it represents the first exit from our first fund which held its final close in September 2010 at £34m.   Solfex is a fantastic business that has achieved impressive growth in a short timeframe and is a shining example of a management team who know their market inside out. The management team has been extremely successful in staying ahead of new technology and adapting their offering to the needs of their customers. Further exciting new opportunities exist for this market leading business to utilise the high growth opportunities that lie within the UK’s renewable energy sector as part of the wider Travis Perkins group.”

Stuart Cooper, managing director and founder of Solfex commented “Panoramic has proved to be an excellent investment partner, providing us with the financial backing and business expertise that has enabled the business to achieve substantial growth, tripling the size of our team and significantly increasing revenues.

“We know our business and market well but we lacked experience in building the infrastructure to support such rapid growth. This is where Panoramic proved to be an invaluable partner providing value add in terms of strategic guidance, corporate governance and financial rigour. They also gave us access to their network of contacts and provided significant input into our marketing strategies and day to day management decisions – their expertise in building many businesses, working in partnership with us as a management team and strategic guidance enabled us to do things better and contributed significantly to us becoming the organisation that we are today.”

Solfex is the second Panoramic backed business to be ranked by the Sunday Times Fast Track in 2012. In September, Cascade Technologies was also listed as one of Britain’s 100 fastest growing private technology companies in the Sunday Times Virgin Tech Track 100.

Advisors on the transaction:

  • Financial and Tax Advisors – Grant Thornton (Corporate Finance – Ali Sharifi, Jenny Hopkins, Andrew Sugden & Tax – Graham Odlin, Sean Mitchell) 
  •  Legal advisors – Gateley LLP (Paul Jefferson, Jemma Bolton, Victoria Jew)