Unquoted bets boost Souter Investments

Andy Macfie

Souter Investments, the family investment office of Stagecoach Group founder and chairman Brian Souter, said it has generated a net return of 14% per annum since March 2007.

Souter Investments said this compared to a 6% annual return on UK quoted equities over the same period.

The investment unit said its strategy has been to:

  • retain a core holding in Stagecoach Group
  • build a diversified portfolio, targeting direct private equity investments
  • maintain an opportunistic approach to investment opportunities

Unquoted investments have increased from 5% to 45% of the total portfolio over the nine year period to March 31, 2016.

Souter Investments said its portfolio now contains 120 investments worth about £334 million.

It said its portfolio of unquoted companies in the UK, Poland, Finland, Turkey, New Zealand and Latin America, have a combined turnover of £2 billion and employ around 19,000 people.

Over the three year period to March 31, 2016, Souter Investments said it made a total 15 private equity investments in a number of sectors including health care, consumer goods, oil & gas, financial services and industrials.

Four investments were completed in the transport sector.

Souter Investments’ recent investments include Baywater Healthcare, Clive Christian, Mobius Life, Daisy Telecom and Ashtead Technology.

Andy Macfie, managing director of Souter Investments, said: “When we launched Souter Investments in December 2006, our vision was to create a professional but entrepreneurial family investment office with the objective of creating an investment portfolio that would be resilient to economic downturns.

“We are pleased to have achieved this objective which is particularly encouraging given how difficult the economic and investment environment has been.”

Brian Souter said: “An annual return of 14% compared to 6% may not sound like much of a difference but the compounding effect over time means that our portfolio is 180% higher than it would have been had we invested in the UK stock market.”

Souter added: “I am proud of what we have achieved at Souter Investments over the last decade, especially in light of the macro-economic backdrop and difficult investment climate.

“We are now one of the most active private equity houses based in Scotland, and certainly one of the most active overseas.

“The portfolio is in a healthy state and I am confident we will continue to see many interesting investment opportunities in the future and generate superior returns.”

The Souter Charitable Trust has been a beneficiary of Souter Investments’ performance.

In the 10 years to June 2016, the Souter Charitable Trust awarded more than 10,000 grants totalling £73 million to projects “aimed at relieving human suffering both in the UK and overseas.”