This is the 14th annual report on the performance of portfolio companies, a group of large, private equity (“PE”) owned UK businesses that met defined criteria at the time of acquisition. Its publication is one of the steps adopted by the private equity industry following the publication of guidelines by Sir David Walker to improve transparency and disclosure, under the oversight of the Private Equity Reporting Group (“PERG”).
This report addresses many questions that various stakeholders may have on the impact of private equity ownership on large UK businesses, by presenting facts and benchmarks to provide answers. The report is designed to be read stand-alone, summarising the accumulated data over the past 14 years of reporting; it also contains comparisons to last year’s results and, for some measures, shows time series trends.
This year, the report covers 64 portfolio companies (“PCs”, as defined according to criteria set by the PERG) as at the 2020 financial reporting year (2019: 61), as well as a further 107 portfolio companies that have been owned and exited since 2005. The findings are based on aggregated information provided on the portfolio companies by the PE firms that own them —covering the entire period of private equity ownership. This year, data was received covering 57 portfolio companies, a compliance rate of 89% (2019: 87%). On many measures of performance, the data on the current portfolio is combined with data from portfolio companies exited in 2020 and earlier, which provides over 100 data points, typically measuring performance over several years and a compliance rate of 93%.
With a large number of portfolio companies, a high rate of compliance, and fourteen years of information, this report provides comprehensive and detailed information on the effect of PE ownership on many measures of performance of an independently determined group of large UK businesses. The report comprises four sections:
- Section 1: Objectives and fact base
- Section 2: Summary findings
- Section 3: Detailed findings
- Section 4: Basis of findings
This report has been prepared by EY at the request of the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (“BVCA”) and the PERG. The BVCA has supported EY in its work, particularly by encouraging compliance amongst its members and non-members; the BVCA and the PERG have also provided comments on early drafts to EY. As in prior years, we welcome comments and suggestions on this report by contacting the members listed at the end of this report.