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Graphite pays £17m to boost PIFC stake

Pension specialist IFA PIFC Benefits Consultants is getting a £17m cash injection in a deal that sees private equity firm Graphite Capital take a majority stake in the firm.

Graphite is increasing its holding in PIFC to 62 per cent from the 29 per cent that it has held since 1998, with PIFC&#39s management retaining the remainder of the shares.

PIFC has 25 registered individuals and a turnover of £8.5m a year, principally in corporate pensions and employee benefits advice.

Graphite will not disclose how much of the £17m has gone to pay for the extra 33 per cent stake but some of the cash will go towards the company&#39s expansion plans in the pensions and employee benefits sector.

PIFC is understood to be looking at corporate IFAs and consulting actuaries as takeover targets and says that flotation on Aim is a possibility.

PIFC chief executive Terry Bennett, who founded the company in 1983, retains a 10 per cent stake and becomes chairman of the consultancy business, with Peter Pennington Legh switching from that role to become group chairman.

Bennett&#39s role as chief executive will not be filled but former PIFC financial planning division managing director Nick Burns steps up to the role of group managing director after 12 years with the firm.

Bennett says: “The changes in the regulatory environment and the market forces affecting the pension industry represent an opportunity for PIFC to pursue further growth.”

Graphite partner Simon ffitch says: “PIFC has a track record of revenue and profit growth. Having originally invested to acquire a minority stake in the business in 1998, we are delighted now to be backing the management team to take the company through its next phase of development.”


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