Lonsdale said it aims to increase the amount of plans sold to around 10,000 a year to compete with Dignity and the Co-operative Funeralcare. Souter Investments, the private investment vehicle of Stagecoach Group, and F&C Private Equity Trust also invested in the take-over deal.
Avalon currently sells around 6,000 funeral plans a year and has operations in Britain and Spain – where the ex-pat community of Britain retain funeral plans with the Wilmslow-based company.
Lonsdale has installed Steve Chambers as chief executive of Avalon – he was previously chief commercial officer at Yell Group – and Avalon founder Mike Cooper retains a minority stake. Mike said he was confident with the way the company will fare under new ownership and added:
“Having driven this business from a standing start over 20 years, it was important to see it move on to the next stage. Over the last few years we have doubled turnover and I have developed an excellent management team.”In Lonsdale I know that the business has found an excellent financial partner and I look forward to watching the continued success of Avalon.”
New chief executive Mr Chambers said: “I am delighted to be given the opportunity to apply my skills and experience to this business.”
Avalon has fared well over the past year, as turnover increased 14 per cent to £6.5 million in the previous 12 months.