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Sovereign makes fivefold return on Alpha Plus sale

Sovereign Capital has generated a return of 5.5 times its investment and a 53 per cent IRR on its sale on Alpha Plus to specialist investment adviser Delancey.

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Sovereign Capital has generated a return of 5.5 times its investment and a 53 per cent IRR on its sale on Alpha Plus to specialist investment adviser Delancey.

Alpha Plus is a group of independent schools, colleges and nurseries and was acquired by Sovereign for £26m (€40m) in 2002.

At the time of the acquisition, the Alpha group was made up of 11 schools. Under Sovereign's ownership it has become one of the largest groups of independent schools in the UK, seeing a 44 per cent increase its pupil numbers to around 2,800 through organic and acquisitive growth.

Today the group consists of 17 schools, with a further two in development, covering nursery to sixth form education.

The company's portfolio of schools includes the Wetherby Preparatory School, Pembridge Hall and Davies Laing & Dick College in London.

Sovereign strengthened Alpha's management team by bringing in chief executive Paul Brett, a former teacher and strategic director of Sarco's educational business; managing director Azhar Mobin, also a former teacher and head of education at the Audit Commission; and financial director Roger Bird.

Turnover and Ebitda are forecast to increase 16 per cent and 33 per cent respectively since the time of Sovereign's original investment.