Sugar daddy beds nurses, plod, firemen software biz with fat wad

IT channel giant Civica snapped up for £390m

Omers Private Equity has coughed up £390m for public-sector services and software supplier Civica.

A metaphorical "for sale" sign was erected outside the integrator by former owner 3i last autumn, but it was unclear if it would end up in the hands of a rival, another venture capitalist or the bosses in a management buyout.

The confirmed deal represents a decent return on the £190m that 3i stumped up in 2008 for Civica when it acquired the AIM-listed firm and took it private again.

Civica CEO Simon Downing played down any potential disruption that a change in ownership could throw up.

"There is no change to our trading companies as we carry on business as normal led by the existing management team," he said in a canned statement.

Omers PE - the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement Scheme - is the investment arm of a pension fund which has over $60bn in assets and $6bn of investments under management.

It is buying a business that delivers services and software to more than 90 per cent of UK local authorities, and over 300 in Australia and New Zealand.

The UK customer base includes 275 healthcare trusts, over 250 social housing organisations and nine out of every ten police forces and fire services in Blighty.

In the last set of numbers for the year to 30 September 2012, Civica UK turned over £109.6m, compared to £99.6m in the previous twelve months and profit grew nearly 12 per cent to £8m.

Holding company Cornwall TopCo pushed up revenues globally by 10.4 per cent to £201.8m but after interest repayments and taxes it reported a loss of £3.9m, narrower than the £10.5m loss it made a year earlier.

The channel firm employs more than 2,000 people, 60 per cent of which are based in the UK.

Tola Sergeant, director at TechMarketView, said Omers will leave Civica management to run the business but could provide the funding it requires to become a £350m plus outfit. ®

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