Corven Ventures Exits its Investment in Caterham CarsBy Corven Ventures, PRNE
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
LONDON, April 27, 2011 - The consortium led by Corven Ventures ("Corven"), the activist principal
finance investor, has exited its investment in Caterham Cars ("Caterham") to
Team Lotus Enterprises Limited ("Team Lotus"). Terms of the deal were not
Caterham is the leading independent motorsport car manufacturer in the
UK, producing over 500 cars in 2010, the highest volume in recent years. It
is the manufacturer of the Caterham Seven, the iconic sports car first
designed by Colin Chapman in 1957, which continues today to provide one of
the most exhilarating driving experiences from a production car.
Corven acquired the business from the founding Nearn family in 2005
through a Management Buy In transaction, led by former Lotus Cars General
Manager, Ansar Ali. Since then, the business has undergone a dramatic
The company's assembly plant is located in Dartford, Kent and the
business has two UK retail sites located in Caterham and near Leicester. In
2008, Caterham established with Corven's support a chassis manufacturing
capability at Westbury in Wiltshire. This vertical integration has provided
not only a consistency of supply but also the cost efficiency that has been
critical to Caterham's growth and profitability. Management have changed the
production system from batch to line assembly, dramatically improving build
quality and efficiency, as well as creating the platform for volume growth.
Caterham employs 105 people across its sites, an increase of over 50% since
The core product is the Caterham Seven, a lightweight sports car with
legendary heritage having been first designed by Lotus founder Colin Chapman
in 1957. Through ongoing investment in innovative engineering design, the
Seven today still provides a market leading experience as a thrilling car to
drive, whether on the road or race track. In recognition of this, the
Caterham R500 variant was the Top Gear Car of the Year in 2008.
Caterham is the leading amateur motorsport business in Europe, with over
700 drivers competing in championships each weekend during the season.
Further afield, the Seven is driven competitively in North America, the
Middle East and Asia. The Caterham Academy, which trains novice racing
drivers, is consistently sold out up to a year in advance and has introduced
over 600 drivers into competitive motorsport. In the last three years,
Caterham Academies have also been set up in Portugal, Holland and more
recently France for the 2011 season. Over 22,000 people a year now drive a
Caterham as part of driving experience days in the UK.
The strategic investment in the motorsport programme has also influenced
new product development. This has been demonstrated through the unveiling of
the SP300.R at the Autosport International show in January 2011. This is a
milestone development for the company, with the car's contemporary new design
taking Caterham's racing pedigree to the next level whilst remaining
consistent with its brand values of performance through lightweight and
affordable motorsport. The company will launch its first SP300.R race grid in
Corven has supported this transformation with capital, operational change
and financial expertise, leading ultimately to the successful exit to Team
Lotus. James Basden, Chief Executive of Corven Ventures commented: "The sale
of Caterham marks the successful conclusion of the dramatic transformation of
this exciting business under Corven and its co-investor's ownership. We are
extremely proud to have played a role in the development from a traditionally
run family business to what is today a highly professional motorsport based
car company with a market leading position. This investment has proven
Corven's investment model of applying capital with strategic change
management expertise to transform high potential companies and to generate
substantial shareholder value. Team Lotus is the perfect owner for Caterham
to take the business to the next stage of its development and we wish
Caterham, Team Lotus and Tony Fernandes the very best of luck for the
exciting future ahead."
Corven Ventures is the investment arm of the Corven Group, an integrated
group of businesses all focussed on creating value from strategic change. We
operate through the following divisions:
- Corven Ventures: an activist principal finance investor focused on UK
special situation private company investment opportunities
- Corven Consulting: a global management consultancy and advisory firm
with offices in London, Boston, Chicago and Hong Kong
- H-I Network: an exclusive network of leaders and innovators and
operator of the Innovation Network, Operational Excellence Network and
Corporate Venturing Network
We work as a single firm and draw upon and integrate these different
capabilities when this delivers greater value to our clients and investments.
This allows us to offer innovative and tailored solutions that we believe in.
For further information please go to www.corven.com.
For further details please contact: Charles Oppenheim, +44(0)20-3326-2946, Charles.Oppenheim at corven.com
Tags: April 27, Corven Ventures, London, United Kingdom