A Warwickshire debt recovery firm is set to launch an acquisitive spree after being handed a £50 million cash injection.
Royal London Private Equity has led the fund raising transaction for Equidebt in a deal advised by BDO Stoy Hayward.
With consumer debt at record levels the extra capital will enable Wellesbournebased Equidebt to pursue purchase opportunities within the financial services sector.
The funding from RLPE enables Equidebt, which employs 120 people, to buy more bad debts from banks and other lenders.
RLPE has taken a majority stake in Equidebt, alongside founders Bob Scott and Jan Mosiewicz, with RLPE director Duncan Johnson joining the board as a non-executive director.
Mr Johnson said: " Consumer debt in the UK has peaked over the past six months and financial services institutions are increasingly outsourcing their debt to manage the recovery process more efficiently.
"Equidebt has an excellent track record, good infrastructure and strong financial management to take advantage of this growth market as the financial sector continues to outsource its portfolios of consumer debt.
"The management team has built strong relationships with its clients and has adopted a professional and ethical debt collection strategy."
Equidebt is a leading UK debt recovery agency, specialising in the ethical collection of financial sector consumer debts.
The company was founded in 1992 by Bob Scott and Jan Mosiewicz and provides debt collection services for six of the top financial debt originators in the UK, including Lloyds TSB, HSBC, and Royal Bank of Scotland.
It is estimated that more than six million UK families are currently experiencing difficulty in meeting their loan repayments.
The level of unsecured loans in the UK has grown to £189 billion, a rise of 63 per cent since 2000.
This level of debt, combined with financial organisations becoming more comfortable with the concept of selling distressed debt, means that the UK debt collection and debt collection and debt purchase markets are likely to continue their strong growth in the future.
Jan Mosiewicz, chairman of Equidebt, said: "Over the past 13 years we have established Equidebt as a leading provider of consumer debt recovery for the financial services sector.
"We aim to build on our strong client relationships and reputation for ethical debt collection and grow the business through contingency collections, consumer debt portfolio purchases and acquisitions."
Phil Wilding will continue in his role as business development director while Phil Moore joins the board as finance director.
Roger Buckley, corporate finance partner at BDO Stoy Hayward's Birmingham business centre said: "Equidebt has a long standing relationship with its top quality client base, and has a highly trained and motivated workforce.
"As well as its core debt collection service, the company has also developed some market leading products and consultancy services"
BDO Stoy Hayward's Roger Buckley and Chris Bourne-Hallett were lead advisers to Equidebt management, while legal advice was provided by Chris Garnett of Eversheds. Legal advice to RLPE was provided by Jim Lavery of DLA Piper Ruddick Gray Cary.
Advisers to RLPE included PwC and KPMG. Debt facilities to enable Equidebt to acquire consumer debt portfolios was provided by a banking syndicate led by NM Rothschild.