Established track record
Prior to founding TDR Capital, Manjit Dale and Stephen Robertson were responsible for deploying almost €700 million in capital between 1995 and 2002, whilst at DB Capital Partners and its predecessor firm BT Capital Partners.
Pre-TDR track record
Manjit and Steve have worked together since 1995 and were instrumental in building DB Capital Partners, the European leveraged buyout arm of Deutsche Bank, into one of the leading buyout firms in Europe.
Under Manjit and Steve's management, BT Capital Partners and DB Capital Partners made over twenty investments, subsequently returning 3.0x of the invested capital and generating an internal rate of return of 63%. Examples of investments include Center Parcs, Punch Taverns, Virgin Rail and Rapala.
In 2002 Manjit and Steve left Deutsche Bank to become the Founding Partners of TDR Capital.
Center Parcs Europe
Center Parcs is a European network of holiday villages. Founded in 1968, it created the concept of short break holiday parks and has developed into the leading operator with, at the time of DB Capital Partners’ ownership, 10 holiday villages in mainland Europe. Accommodation at each village is generally provided in the form of villas set in beautiful natural environments. During our ownership, Center Parcs UK had approximately 1.5 million visitors every year and had an average occupancy rate of over 90%.
In 2000, the Founding Partners acquired Center Parcs Europe in a joint venture with the French holiday company Pierre & Vacances. The market believed that there was excess supply in the short break holiday market in Central Europe and the valuation of the business had suffered accordingly. Pierre & Vacances already owned Europe's largest bungalow vacation supplier, Gran Dorado Resorts, which was the leading competitor to Center Parcs Europe.
The team worked on integrating the businesses and strengthened management in the process. The combination of the two businesses, in addition to several cost reduction efforts, allowed the team to grow EBITDA significantly in the three years of ownership.
In 2003, Center Parcs Europe was sold to Pierre & Vacances, which resulted in an internal rate of return of 77% and returned 4.4x of the invested capital.
Center Parcs UK
Center Parcs UK is a short break holidays operator with, at the time of DB Capital Partners’ ownership, four village locations across the UK. The villages, each set in 400 acres of forest with lakes and streams, focus on active holidays for the family and offer a wide range of sporting activities. Accommodation is provided in the form of apartments and lodges. Today, Center Parcs UK has approximately 1.7 million visitors every year and has an average occupancy rate of over 95%.
In 2001, the Founding Partners acquired Center Parcs UK from Scottish & Newcastle plc. Having acquired the Center Parcs Europe business a year earlier, the team was confident about the value creation opportunities in Center Parcs UK and that a new capex approach could generate the growth that had historically been lacking. In addition to the successful new and re-engineered capex programme, the team introduced new performance-based compensation schemes.
Later in 2001, the team acquired the only direct UK competitor, the Oasis Holiday Village near Penrith, which was taken over by Center Parcs UK. The team worked actively to move the acquired Oasis Holiday Village to Center Parcs operating standards and achieved significant cost savings which led to strong EBITDA growth.
In 2003, the team ran an accelerated IPO process of the combined business and achieved a full exit, which resulted in an internal rate of return of 115% and returned 6.8x of the invested capital.
Punch Taverns, during DB Capital Partners’ ownership, became the largest owner and operator of pubs in the UK. Today, subsequent to the demerger of its managed pub business Spirit Pub Company plc, Punch Taverns plc is one of the UK’s largest leased pub companies. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
In 1998, the Founding Partners formed Punch Taverns to acquire 1,428 pubs from Bass plc, following regulatory changes that forced divestitures upon the UK brewing sector. This was the first ever tied pub securitisation.
The team believed the Bass pub portfolio represented a high-quality tenanted pub estate and, whilst others were concerned about a lack of growth, they believed that operational improvements could supplement a very strong cash flow. After the acquisition, the team concentrated on enhancing the capex programme and implementing supply chain savings, as well as refocusing the business on lease conversions and on growing revenues and EBITDA.
In 1999 Punch Taverns was sold to TPG, which resulted in an internal rate of return of 367% and returned 11.3x of the invested capital.
Virgin Rail, during BT Capital Partners’ ownership, was the second largest train operator in the UK, running the Intercity West Coast and Cross Country passenger rail franchises. Today, Virgin Rail continues to operate the West Coast rail franchise.
In 1997, BT Capital Partners partnered with the Virgin Group, forming a joint venture to take advantage of the privatisation of British Rail that took place in the mid-1990s. The consortium was successful in winning bids for the Intercity West Coast and the Cross Country passenger rail franchises. Although the two franchises were separate companies legally and operationally, they were marketed together as part of the Virgin Group.
The team was able to apply the strong Virgin Group brand and private sector disciplines to stimulate revenue growth and improve financial performance. Revenue decline reversed to 4% growth in the first year. The team introduced new timetables, a call centre, a ticket delivery system and implemented a rigorous training programme for the staff and upgraded the rolling stock.
In 1998, DB Capital Partners sold its share of the joint venture to Stagecoach Group, which resulted in an internal rate of return of 132% and returned 3.7x of the invested capital.
Rapala is the global market leader in manufacturing and distributing fishing lures, and other fishing and hunting products. It was founded in Finland in the 1930s by Lauri Rapala. At the time of BT Capital Partners’ ownership, Rapala was distributing its products predominantly across Europe and North America. Today, Rapala sells over 20 million lures each year, in 140 different countries.
In 1995, the Founding Partners led the buyout of Rapala from the Rapala family, together with management. At acquisition, Rapala's established strengths were: a unique manufacturing, sourcing and R&D platform including the world's largest lure factories in Europe and China; a leading global distribution network in the fishing tackle industry; and, a strong brand portfolio.
The team strongly believed that Rapala's brands and size could be leveraged to take advantage of the consolidation among the retailers. As owners, the team supported Rapala to extend the product line beyond fishing tackles to reduce the seasonality and looked to rationalise the manufacturing cost base. Both of these improvements resulted in very strong EBITDA growth.
In 1998, the team led a successful IPO of the business on the Helsinki Stock Exchange, resulting in an internal rate of return of 151% and returned 4.3x of the invested capital.