Palatine exits £40m turnover driver safety specialist

Palatine Private Equity has exited its investment in TTC Group, the Telford-based driver risk management and road safety training provider which has seen growth accelerate through a successful acquisition strategy.

Since investing in the Telford-headquartered company in July 2017, Palatine has overseen revenue growth from around £27m to more than £40m, through a digitalisation programme and a buy-and-build strategy, adding new service lines to its rapidly growing corporate business.

TTC provides a range of tech-enabled driver risk management, compliance and training services for corporate clients, including major vehicle leasing providers and fleet operators, as well as delivering national speed awareness training courses on behalf of 14 police forces.

Through the acquisitions of both Business Driver (May 2019) and document verification business, Licence Bureau (March 2020), TTC’s corporate division has grown from a handful of clients to now work with over 2,800 businesses across the UK.

The business has developed a proprietary technology platform, TTC Continuum, which integrates data on an agnostic basis from sources including telematics, connected cameras and other in-vehicle technology, to provide fleet operators with a valuable insight into risk and compliance management, through real-time dashboards.

This enables companies to both assess risk and personalise any required training intervention to a specific driver while being able to assess behavioural changes when comparing both before and after. Providing a return on investment has for a long time been the “holy grail” for the industry – something TTC Continuum is now enabled to provide to its customers.

Jim Kirkwood, CEO of TTC Group said: “The partnership we have enjoyed with Palatine has been highly successful over the last four years, based on a close, collaborative and supportive relationship.

“Together we have achieved a huge amount as we professionalised the business, investing significantly in digital technology and recruiting a talented and ambitious management team.

“We have enhanced relationships with our major stakeholders in our Police business and secured new contracts with the Northamptonshire, West Yorkshire and Wiltshire forces. Our Corporate division has been transformed as a result of the acquisitions and investments we have made, underpinned by our innovative TTC Continuum technology platform.

“As a management team we see significant opportunity to scale TTC into new markets, and are delighted that Pricoa Private Capital shares this vision. We look forward to executing our exciting business plan to take the business to the next stage with them as our new investment partner.”

Richard Thomas, senior investment director and head of Palatine in the Midlands, said: “Jim and the team have done an outstanding job growing the business organically and by acquisition over the last four years. Much more than this though, they have worked with us to create a more resilient, digitally-focused and customer centric organisation.

“Testament to this strategy, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, TTC was able to rapidly pivot to digital-focused delivery, strengthening relationships with key customers, creating new opportunities for growth, and solidifying the business’ competitive proposition in the process.

“Alongside the value-creating acquisitions we’ve made, our partnership with the TTC management team has delivered a more environmentally-friendly business, using significantly less paper and emitting less carbon dioxide as a result of digitisation and a major investment in EV and hybrid cars in its own fleet.

“We wish the team well as they continue on to the next level.”

The sale of Palatine’s shareholding to the TTC management team has been supported by Pricoa Private Capital.

Ed Barker, head of Pricoa’s Midlands business, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with the team at TTC. Pricoa’s strategy fundamentally encompasses deep relationships with strong management teams and attractive businesses, and those aspects are clear in this transaction.

“TTC, in conjunction with its stakeholders, significantly enhances road safety and offers a compelling return on investment proposition to corporates with fleets of all sizes. Through our initial funding and the business’ ongoing investment in technology, breadth of service, and the customer journey, we hope to further strengthen those core aims. We are excited to support Jim and his team in executing our shared vision.”

Palatine was advised by a team from investment bank GCA Altium and law firm Gateley.

Akin Gump acted as counsel to Pricoa. The TTC management team was advised by Liberty Corporate Finance and law firm Osborne Clarke.

Santander is providing TTC with a revolving credit facility to support its growth plan.

Jeremy Harrison, managing director at GCA Altium, said: “I am delighted to have supported the shareholders in facilitating the next stage of TTC’s growth story. Having advised the team on the original buy-out, it is particularly pleasing to witness the progress and growth the business has experienced in recent years. With exciting new technology platforms across their business, TTC will make an even greater contribution to road safety in the future. We wish management and Pricoa every success.”

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