Exit for Maven VCTs – Crawford Scientific

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Archived article: please remember tax and investment rules and circumstances can change over time. This article reflects our views at the time of publication.

Maven Capital Partners, the manager of the Maven VCTs, has just announced an exit from one of the largest holdings across its VCTs. 

Crawford Scientific, a leading supplier of chromatography products and analytical services to the laboratory research and testing sectors, has been sold to Limerston Capital Partners.

The sale realised a return for Maven clients of 4.5x the initial investment in just over three years, with an IRR of 70%. Please note: past performance is not a guide to the future. 

The Maven Income & Growth VCTs invested in Crawford in 2014. Since then, the company has consistently outperformed its targets. Turnover and headcount have both doubled and profitability has almost trebled. Indeed, last year Crawford was able to make additional voluntary loan repayments to the benefit of the Maven VCTs.

Crawford is a good example of the type of company Maven likes to invest in: established, entrepreneurial businesses, led by proven management teams which Maven believes have robust growth prospects. Maven aims to concentrate on companies available at attractive entry multiples, which can generate regular income and have the potential to achieve medium to long-term capital appreciation – although this is not guaranteed.

The fact that Crawford is based in Lanarkshire is typical. One of the points of difference between Maven and many other VCT managers is its geographical spread: its ten offices around the country give it nationwide coverage. The manager believes this allows better local knowledge and access to regional deals more London-centric VCT houses may miss. 

This is the twelfth Maven realisation across its VCTs since November 2014. Previous exits include trade sales to German and US buyers, as well as three secondary market disposals to other private equity houses. 

This impressive track record has historically supported the strong performance of the Maven VCTs, both in terms of dividend payments and net asset value, as the chart below shows. Please note, though, past performance is not a guide to the future. Dividends are not guaranteed. 

Source: Maven. Past performance is not a guide to the future. Dividends are variable and not guaranteed. Chart shows net asset value and cumulative dividends paid per share for Maven VCT 3 as at 30 November in each year and Maven VCT 4 as at 31 December in each year, except 2017 which is as at 15 Sep 2017 and is unaudited.

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