Waterfall specialises in catering for schools

Private equity-backed contract caterer Waterfall Catering Group has been acquired by French multinational Elior Group.

The deal provides LDC, which backed a £20m secondary buyout in December 2014, an exit, generating a 2.6x return on its investment.

Warrington-headquartered Waterfall specialises in catering for the care and education sectors through its Caterplus and Taylor Shaw brands.

LDC supported the growth ambitions of the management team, led by CEO Jim Lovett, finance director Gabrielle Higham and chairman Vince Pearson, with revenues climbing revenues from £50m to more than £70m since the original buyout.

Elior Group, listed on Paris’ Euronext market, is one of the world’s largest contracted food industry operators, with annual revenues of €5.7bn in 2014/15.

Caterplus and Taylor Shaw will continue to operate under their current brands as part of a new Elior company, with the management team remaining as shareholders to oversee the next phase of growth.

Waterfall CEO Jim Lovett said: “LDC backed our vision and ambition as a management team to create an even stronger business and has provided unwavering support for our growth plans ever since.

“The deal with Elior Group provides a highly strategic outcome for our partnership with LDC and puts us in a great position to further develop our offering to customers within our core sectors in education and care.”