Lead Forensics

Case study

Waterfall Catering Group: Catering for growth

Secondary buyout backed management team to deliver organic growth across the care and education markets.

Waterfall is one of the UK’s leading independent mid-sized contract caterers.

Deal type
  • Secondary buyout
Deal value


Exit type
  • International trade sale
Exit date

July 2016

Waterfall is one of the UK’s leading independent mid-sized contract caterers. The business operates through two brands: Caterplus and Taylor Shaw.

Caterplus services residential and care homes across the country, as well as welfare charities and shelters, and it is regarded as the largest operator in the sector.

Taylor Shaw operates in the education sector with contracts for state primary and secondary schools and colleges and a presence in business and industry.

Improving core markets

Waterfall’s management team secured backing from LDC in a £20m secondary management buyout in December 2014.

During the partnership, LDC supported the management team as it executed its organic growth strategy which focused on strengthening margins, as well as improving its customer proposition and service delivery in its core markets of care and education.

This supported growth in revenues from £50m to over £70m, with headcount increasing from 3,000 to more than 3,500 employees in 19 months.

orange quote mark
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.”
Jim Lovett, CEO
Waterfall Catering Group

International future

In July 2016, LDC exited its investment in Waterfall to Paris-based multinational Elior Group SA in a deal that generated a 2.6x money multiple and IRR of 81 per cent for LDC.

The deal saw Waterfall Catering Group join one of the world’s largest operators in the contracted food industry in Elior Group, which is listed on Paris’ Euronext market and recorded annual revenues of €5,674m in the financial year 2014-2015.

Both Caterplus and Taylor Shaw continued to operate under their current brands as part of a new Elior company, and the management team remained as shareholders to oversee the next phase of growth.

orange quote mark
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.”
Jim Lovett, CEO
Waterfall Catering Group