UCT sells Ufi Limited to Lloyds TSB Development Capital (LDC)

The Ufi Charitable Trust (UCT) has sold part of its business to Lloyds TSB Development Capital (LDC) for £40 million.

Ufi Limited, which is known for its management of the Learndirect brand, was sold to the private equity house on Wednesday.

Sarah Jones, Chief Executive of Learndirect, said: “The change in ownership will allow us to reach more businesses and learners with a wider range of products and services, while continuing to deliver excellent training and raise standards across the sector.”

LDC is part of the Lloyds Banking Group and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

The company has announced that Ufi Ltd will now trade simply as Learndirect.

Joanne Milner, Investment Director at LDC said: “We are delighted to invest in Learndirect. Given the strength of its brand and the greater flexibility it will now have to expand its services, we believe Learndirect has tremendous potential in the wider marketplace.

LDC and the strong, existing management have a clear strategy for growth involving accessing a far greater pool of potential learners and businesses and providing a much broader range of services. “

Ufi Ltd, which until now was owned and overseen by UCT, had a turnover of £140 million in 2010.

John Weston, UCT Chairman, said “The sale is excellent news. UCT will use the endowment created by the sale to assist in achieving a step change in adult learning and employability.

“There is massive potential for e-learning to drive business and boost economic performance, and over coming months we will be commissioning a strategic programme of projects to fully unlock that potential.”
UCT was created by the Government in 1998 to implement new technology into the delivery of learning and skills.

Learndirect is the UK’s leading online learning provider, and has 380 direct employees who deliver learning.

The business receives income from contracts with funding bodies, including the Skills Funding Agency (SFA), as well as the private sector.

Geoff Russell, Chief Executive of the SFA, said: “The sale of Ufi Ltd and its Learndirect brand is good news for UK businesses, learners and the wider economy.

“It will boost competition in the training sector, allowing more people to benefit from learning opportunities and helping businesses thrive through the large scale delivery of learning through technology.”

Ian Crabb, a former Oxford graduate and former CEO of Quadriga Worldwide Limited, has been appointed as the new Chair of Learndirect.

“This is an immensely exciting time for Learndirect,” he said.

“I am delighted to have been appointed its new Chair and I am looking forward to supporting its continued growth and delivering even more opportunities for people during these very difficult economic times.”