EPIC VCT makes its first investment

The first VCT ever launched by EPIC Private Equity has made its maiden investment, in salad bar chain Chop’d.

EPIC VCT, which has raised £3 million of its targeted £15 million, will invest up to £1 million in Chop’d to accelerate the roll-out of new branches of the chain.

In related news, EPIC also announced the sale of its portfolio company Kilgour, a Savile Row tailor established in 1885. EPIC financed the management buy-out of Kilgour in 2003, helping it to add a ready-to-wear business to its traditional tailoring services. Now the business has been sold to investment company JMH Lifestyle for an undisclosed sum that generated a return of 5.2 times EPIC’s investment, or an IRR of 47 per cent, according to the firm.

Giles Brand, a partner at EPIC, says: ‘Kilgour is typical of the companies we invest in. Our focus is on solid businesses with interesting growth potential where we can back proven managers, ultimately driving strong returns for investors. It is very much the kind of business we will be targeting for our VCT.’

Although EPIC has no past experience of running a VCT, the firm claims it has made 18 deals that would have met the current VCT qualifying rules, with an average return of 2.7 times the original investment, or an IRR of 48 per cent.

EPIC VCT has billed itself as being focused on outstanding performance rather than tax breaks. Sales and marketing director Mark Hutchinson says: ‘Those [financial advisers] looking for a performance-focused VCT, perhaps more in the spirit of what VCTs were introduced to do, will not be disappointed.’

Marc Barber

Marc Barber

Marc was editor of GrowthBusiness from 2006 to 2010. He specialised in writing about entrepreneurs, private equity and venture capital, mid-market M&A, small caps and high-growth businesses.

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