Courtnell Partners is a private, London-based investment advisory boutique with a particular focus on small business ownership in Europe.
Courtnell Partners Limited is a private, London-based investment advisory boutique with a particular focus on small business ownership in Europe.
Our clients are value-oriented investors with permanent capital and a shared vision to buy and build small businesses sustainably through operational improvements, a dedication to execution and a focus on capital allocation.
We support our clients through the lifecycle of small business ownership, from search and acquisition to operations and management.
We will always act with integrity and in the best interests of our clients. If they succeed, we will too. We think like business owners in all aspects of our work, staying focused and guarding against complacency.
We seek to develop and maintain relationships with clients, business owners, management teams and service providers that are based on integrity and trust.
We hold five core beliefs that guide us in all we do:
- In the long-term, buying a great company at a fair price is better than buying a fair company at a great price;
- Financial and strategic alignment between shareholders and company management is critical to our clients’ success;
- All else equal, sustainable companies generate greater profits for longer;
- Capital is best allocated to uses that maximize sustainable profits in the future;
- Simple capital structures minimize the risk of capital loss and maximize strategic flexibility.
Focus on B2B & B2A sectors, including:
- Medical Devices
- Scientific Instruments
- Precision engineering
- Waste Recycling
Targets should be able to demonstrate:
- Defensible position in a niche sub-sector
- Strong long-term growth prospects
- Sound customer loyalty and satisfaction
We will also evaluate the following:
- Competitive landscape
- Level of industry consolidation
- Barriers to entry
- Need for additional capital investment
- Customer switching costs
- Intellectual property rights
Environmental & social impact
Targets should be established small businesses with a proven track record. Our clients are not typically interested in start-up businesses.
Targets should be able to substantially demonstrate a history of the following:
- Stable revenue growth
- EBITDA of €1-3m with margins > 10%
- Positive free cash flow generation
- Light to medium capital intensity
- Customer and supplier diversification
Targets can be operationally or financially stressed provided they can show a history of positive performance.
Focus on small businesses seeking a change in majority ownership for reasons including:
- Corporate divestitures
- Founder liquidity needs or retirement
- Generational ownership transition challenges
- Need for fresh capital / restructuring
Incentivising management teams appropriately and in alignment with shareholder interests is critical to our clients’ success.
In the absence of a strong and committed existing management team, our operating partners have the ability to step in to manage the business.
We emphasize engaging directly with sellers and management teams, both pre- and post-acquisition.