Harvard secures investment from ECI Partners

The investment will allow Harvard to further build on its strategic growth plans, which includes increasing employee numbers from 300 to 500, enhancing the company’s range of products and building a new state-of-the-art R&D and manufacturing facility.

Established in 1993, by current managing director John McDonnell (pictured), Harvard has remained at the forefront of the lighting industry for over 20 years by constantly investing in R&D.

Harvard only moved into its current premises in February 2011, but due to increasing worldwide demand for its products and solutions, it has already outgrown the facility. The company is committed to manufacturing all its products in the UK and has already identified a new site close to its current location.

As part of Harvard’s strategic plans, the company has also made a number of senior appointments including an operations director, a new head of quality and regional international sales managers for Southern, Northern and Central Europe.

Over the course of the last three years Harvard has seen employee numbers and turnover more than double. It has also opened offices in France, Italy, Germany and USA as part of a five year growth strategy to increase export business from 25 per cent of turnover, at the end of 2011, to 50 per cent by the end of 2015. John McDonnell, managing director at Harvard commented, ‘The investment is wonderful news for Harvard, as it will allow us to strategically build on our already growing market share and international presence. Despite the deep recession, demand for our products continues to grow across the globe.’

Mark Keeley, investment director at ECI commented, ‘As a growth focused investor we look for businesses which have strong management teams who have driven growth despite the global recession and in particular have expanded successfully overseas.  Harvard ticked all our boxes. We are excited about working with John and his team to help the business continue its global expansion.’

David Hardless of Park Place Corporate Finance, which acted as lead advisor on the transaction, commented, ‘John McDonnell has built an exceptional business that is well placed to participate in the LED revolution which is taking place in the lighting industry.  ECI’s involvement will add further impetus.’

Squire Sanders provided legal advice to the shareholders. PwC and LEK provided due diligence services on the transaction. Pinsent Masons, KPMG and AT Kearney provided advice to ECI. Ernst & Young advised on tax matters.

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