SCF Containers

  • The Growth Fund acquired stake in March 2007
  • SCF is the leading lessor of specialised container equipment to the inter-modal transport industry
  • Focus during investment was on investing in the container lease fleet and growing into adjacent product segments, such as accommodation rooms and tank containers
  • SCF was sold in May 2012 to a management buyout vehicle funded & underwritten by Intermediate Capital Group

The SCF Containers journey

SCF Containers started life in a makeshift office constructed from two shipping containers in Adelaide. Lindsay Carthew, a Bank Manager, and Richard Sykes, who was running a container depot, saw an opportunity to create a business leasing specialised shipping containers to rail companies and furniture removalists. Being dynamic and design focused, SCF quickly carved out a niche as a provider of innovative customer solutions.

Looking for an opportunity in the attractive intermodal transport industry, The Growth Fund identified SCF’s potential and partnered with Richard and Lindsay in March 2007 to grow the business.

Growing outside the box

With new capital and disciplined financial analysis, the business quickly expanded to Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne. At the same time, Richard and Lindsay were able to extend the product range to include tank containers, refrigerated containers and containerised accommodation for use in remote areas.

SCF’s ability to generate innovative design solutions to meet new customer requirements was key to the business’s growth – with examples including an international first for Queensland Rail – using a new side access design to enable goods to be unloaded without the need to derail the container.

Returns on track

By 2012, SCF managed over 11,000 containers throughout Australia, with a depot network spanning all of Australia’s major cities, a product range recognised as best-in-class through a number of industry design awards and EBITDA having quadrupled since The Growth Fund’s investment.

In May 2012, The Growth Fund sold its stake to Intermediate Capital Group, generating a 4.4x return on investment for investors and SCF’s founders. Richard and the rest of the SCF management team elected to reinvest their proceeds and remain in place as major shareholders, continuing to expand the business alongside their new partners.