EIS-backed turnaround delivers 75x EIS investment return in five years

We are delighted to announce that one of the Investment Managers on our platform, Par Equity, has transformed a distance learning firm into a market leader in online education.

The Enterprise Investment Scheme has led to world-first innovation in online learning, giving investors a 75x return on their money after 5 years, acquiring Glasgow-based International Correspondence Schools (ICS Learn) in late 2012 who at the time had an uncertain future despite being a long-established “distance learning” specialist. Half a decade on, through refocusing and growth, ICS Learn has developed into a fully-fledged online education provider and a trailblazer in the virtual learning space.

One of ICS Learn’s courses highlights their innovation, centred on personal fitness, this course was the first in the world to allow students to complete their qualification exclusively via video submissions of their work. ICS Learn currently cater for more than 15,000 students globally and have been sold to a private equity backed MBO, taking place not long after ICS Learn paid a dividend in 2017, delivering a pre-tax return of more than 140%.

Par Equity Managing Partner Paul Munn comments, “the total return for an initial £1,000 investment is over 75x on a pre-tax basis and over 100x if you take EIS reliefs into account.”

“So, this is a huge success story for all concerned – for the investors, for the company and its employees and for the thousands of students who use ICS Learn to build their skills.” Par Equity raised investment to acquire the business and funds were channelled into technology, course content, staffing – including around 20 new employees – and tools/support, most notably virtual learning environments.

Paul also goes on to highlight that this investment shows “the power of EIS and the importance of releasing capital to finance and develop promising UK businesses, particularly those in knowledge-intensive sectors.”

The Par Syndicate EIS Fund is listed on our platform, look at the investment opportunity by clicking here.

News outlet Insider have also covered the exit in their article ‘£30m payday for investors in Glasgow-based online education specialist’, click here to read.



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