KCP managing partner Owen Trotter
KCP managing partner Owen Trotter
Richard Bell

Investor KCP exits school catering firm after more than doubling workforce and revenues

Private equity house Key Capital Partners (KCP) has announced a deal to exit school catering business Alliance in Partnership (AiP).

KCP, which has offices in Leeds and London, sold its stake in Birmingham-based AiP to multinational catering company Sodexo.

AiP provides school meals for close to 85,000 pupils and students every day at schools and colleges across the UK.

KCP backed a management buyout of the company in 2014 with a multi-million pound investment. Since then, the firm has supported it through a period of rapid growth that saw revenues climb from £14m to £38m in four years, an increase of over 170%.

On top of the organic growth, AiP added to its operation by acquiring West Midlands-based Class Catering in 2014 and Kent-based The Contract Dining Company in 2017.

During KCP’s ownership of AiP, the business has increased the number of schools it serves from 170 to 400, and its staff count from 700 to over 1,500.

KCP managing partner Owen Trotter said: “It has been a pleasure to be a member of the AiP board and work with the team over the last four years.

“We are very pleased to have been able to support the company during this period of growth and we are proud to have been associated with the success of such a high quality business providing a worthwhile product.”

AiP MD Paul Rogers commented: “AiP has always been committed to serving freshly cooked, locally sourced and innovative food at a value for money price.

“This simple strategy has paid dividends over the last four years and we look forward to continuing this strategy with our new partners at Sodexo.”

Alantra, Mills and Reeve and Grant Thornton advised KCP on corporate finance, legal and tax matters respectively. Law firm Eversheds Sutherland acted for Sodexo.

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