Maven invests £2.5m in crematoria services business

The Aberdeen investment team of Glasgow-based private equity house, Maven Capital Partners has led the investment of £2.5 million in Horizon Cremation Limited.

Horizon is embarking on an ambitious growth strategy in a sector experiencing increased demand for better quality service and facilities. Development capital provided by Maven clients will support this growth.

Horizon plans to develop and operate purpose built crematoria across the UK. Construction is underway on the first facility on the Clyde Coast in North Ayrshire, which is expected to be operational in early 2018, and the management team has identified a number of other potential sites across the UK. The business aims to build a portfolio of next generation crematoria and associated facilities, which will be environmentally and technologically advanced, and will offer a professional service and enhanced levels of care for families when support is most needed.

The UK market for cremation services is expected to experience significant, sustained growth, driven partly by an increase in the number of deaths, but also impacted by the increasing popularity of cremation over burial. There is however a marked shortage of modern local facilities, with only 45 new facilities built in the UK in the past 35 years despite the rapidly growing population.

Established in 2015, Horizon is run by joint founders Jeremy Hamilton and Stephen Byfield, who offer decades of experience within the property and commercial development sectors through their specialist work advising some of the UK’s largest development and infrastructure businesses on the management and delivery of planning consents on complex development projects.

Led by the Aberdeen based investment team, this is Maven’s eighth VCT qualifying investment since April 2016, and its 14th private equity transaction overall in the same period.

Ewan MacKinnon, Investment Director at Maven, added: “We have been very impressed with Jeremy and Stephen and their vision for building a business with a compelling model in a highly defensive sector. The cremation services market offers a clear opportunity for investment and an improved service offering which caters to the rising demand for high-spec, compassionate local facilities. The senior team has a proven track record in the property and planning markets and Maven is looking forward to supporting the growth of this dynamic UK business.”

Jeremy Hamilton, Joint Managing Director at Horizon, said: “We have chosen our funding partners very carefully and are delighted to be taking Horizon Cremation to the next level with Maven Capital Partners. The team at Maven have shown themselves to be highly professional and, more than that, are people we will enjoy working with.”

Stephen Byfield added: “This is an important capital injection for Horizon, and one that will allow us to deliver on our strategy of creating and operating the next generation of environmentally advanced community crematoria in key locations across the UK. We hope that this is the beginning of a long and fruitful partnership.”