Debt collector Lowell for sale

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The Independent Online

Exponent Private Equity, the owner of debt collector Lowell Group, is set to appoint adviser Hawkpoint to sell the business.

The buyout group, which also owns the Radley handbag brand, is looking to return profits on purchases to investors who raised existing funds so it can raise new money. Exponent bought Lowell in April 2008 for around £200m.

A leading corporate adviser predicted that Lowell, which has done relatively well through the recession, could go for up to £400m. However, a rival said that this was "toppy" (high), given that it still made a pre-tax loss of £8.5m for the year to August 2009.

Leeds-based Lowell buys debt off other parties at a discount and then tries to collect the full amount, or as close as possible, from its debtors. The group works with debtors to find solutions to financial problems.

Exponent also owns, which purchases rail tickets through the internet.