Bluestone Group announces major investment by leading private equity firm LDC

Bluestone Group announces major investment by leading private equity firm LDC

Bluestone Group, the fast-growing multi-national financial services business, is pleased to announce that it has reached an agreement with LDC, the leading UK mid-market private equity group, enabling them to make a substantial investment in the business. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval.

The management team will be led by current Executive Chairman, Alistair Jeffery, along with existing executives Peter McGuinness, Andrew Voss and Campbell Smyth.

Bluestone was established in Australia in 2000 by Mr Jeffery, a former senior investment banker. Originally focused on residential  and commercial mortgage lending in Australia and New Zealand, management have over the past few years been implementing a more diversified business model, focusing on capital and asset management, and geographic diversification.

The company is now headquartered in Cambridge in the UK, and is pursuing a broad European and Australasian expansion strategy, broadening its existing loan origination business whilst moving into the non-performing SME loan market as well as debt collection and loan servicing.

Bluestone has two core divisions: Bluestone Asset Management and Bluestone Capital Management.  Bluestone Capital Management focuses on raising and investing capital in financial assets, funding new lending in Australia, (focusing on non-conforming residential mortgages), specialist consumer auto-loans and SME asset finance, and acquiring SME non-performing loan (NPL) portfolios. The company has, so far, acquired NPL books in the UK, Ireland and New Zealand.

Bluestone Asset Management has originated in excess of £3.75 billion in mortgages and other asset backed portfolios since 2000. It is currently responsible for the operations and management of the Group’s financial and real estate assets and manages £1.6 billion of loan assets from its operating platforms in Sheffield, Dublin and Sydney. The core revenue streams are Loan Servicing, Software as a Service (SaaS) and Debt Collection.

Bluestone’s asset management strategy is supported by BOSS, its asset management and collection system, which is used to service loans Bluestone originates and acquires, as well as those of third-parties. In 2012, Bluestone signed a contract with Commonwealth Bank of Australia to provide white-labelled systems on a SaaS model, through an offering called eLoanService, which is being rolled out to the wider market.

The move into debt collection services dates from 2011, with Bluestone’s acquisition from Close Brothers Group plc of Sheffield-based Close Credit Management. This is a mature business which has been operating in the UK for over 40 years and has a customer base that includes HM Revenue & Customs, Black Horse, LeasePlan, MotoNovo and Close Brothers Group plc LDC has a growing track record in the Financial Services sector. Recent investments include global trust and corporate service provider Equiom, and claims management and counter fraud services provider Validus IVC.

Alistair Jeffery, Executive Chairman of Bluestone, commented:
"We are extremely pleased to welcome an investor with the depth and experience of LDC to the business, and we look forward to continuing our exciting expansion in partnership with them in the coming years. LDC join Macquarie Bank as a key institutional backer of the business, extending our access to capital and broadening our business relationships in the UK and further afield."

Daniel Sasaki, Managing Director of LDC London, commented:
We are delighted to be backing the excellent management team at Bluestone, which has already established itself as a leading international player in the key consumer loan origination, purchasing and debt servicing markets. The broadening of the company’s product and service range as well as its geographic expansion has boosted the Group’s performance and LDC has the resources, skills and track record to help management further accelerate their plans and develop Bluestone into a globally-recognised business and brand.”