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Ward Hadaway advises on private equity purchase

LAW firm Ward Hadaway has advised equity investor Total Capital Partners on its backing of the buy-out of Meter Provida Ltd (MPL), a supply-chain management firm serving the gas metering industry, from its parent company Fusion Group Ltd.

Natalie Eastham and Paul Brown led the investment for London-based Total Capital Partners.

MPL is a leading independent supplier of gas meters, providing a full service offering for its customers, including kitting, stock-holding, logistics and full track-and-trace services via its bespoke software system, Slipstream.

Its customer base includes the UK’s largest meter asset managers, gas suppliers, network operators and utility infrastructure providers.

The business has delivered impressive growth with revenues increasing from £12m to £25m in the three years to March 2013. EBITDA in the year to March 2013 was close to £4.0m.

Total Capital is backing Tim Houtby, the existing Managing Director of MPL and Stephen Burr, the incoming Finance Director, to take the business independent and maximise its growth in a market place that is forecast to grow strongly in the next few years, as the UK’s 23 million industrial, commercial and domestic gas meters are replaced with smart meters.

Natalie Eastham of Total Capital Partners said: “We are delighted to back Tim and Stephen as they embark on the next phase of growth for MPL.

“The industry presents exciting growth opportunities as the impact of deregulation continues and the smart metering opportunity takes shape. MPL has established itself as a key service provider in the market place and we look forward to investing further in its development in the coming period”.

Tim Houtby of Meter Provida Limited said: “Total Capital has provided a bespoke financing package to suit the needs of our business as it grows. I am looking forward to working with them”.

Total Capital arranges financing for each of its investments on a deal-by-deal basis, with funds for this investment coming in the main from two of the UK’s leading institutional investors.

Ward Hadaway’s team was led by Corporate Partner Katherine Hay-Heddle.

Katherine said: “We are delighted to have worked with Natalie and Paul on this investment.

“Meter Provida has an exciting future ahead of it, and with Tim and Stephen at the helm and the ongoing support of Total Capital, it is sure to deliver on its promise.”

Natalie added, “We chose to use Ward Hadaway having been very impressed with the team when they were working on the other side of a previous investment we made.

“Their experience in private equity investments of a similar complex nature has been invaluable, and Katherine’s persistence and professionalism has helped ensure the successful completion of this deal.”

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