Schroder UK Public Private backs phone reuser with £10m

Former Woodford Patient Capital Trust invests €12m in Back Market, the Paris-based recycled electronics marketplace, its fifth investment since Schroders replaced Neil Woodford as fund manager.

Schroder UK Public Private (SUPP ), the former Woodford Patient Capital Trust, has invested €12m (£10m) in electronics recycler Back Market.

Launched in 2014, the Paris-based company is a pioneer of renewed technology, enabling customers in Europe to buy refurbished mobile phones and laptops.

The £297m trust co-invested with Sprints Capital, a private equity fund manager in London as part of Back Market’s $510m (£371m) Series E, or fifth, funding round.

This is also the fifth new investment SUPP fund managers Tim Creed and Roger Doig have made since Schroders took over the trust in December 2019, replacing Neil Woodford who resigned as his business collapsed in a liquidity crisis.

They said: ‘In a rapidly evolving electronics market where sustainably-conscious consumers are increasingly opting for recycled products as an alternative to new technology, Back Market is very well placed for continued strong growth.

‘By prolonging the life of millions of consumer electronics devices, Back Market is also set to have a considerable impact on reducing the overall environmental impact of this important industry,’ they added.

A study by data analytics company, Kantar, quoted one in five shoppers saying they had adopted more sustainable habits since the beginning of the Covid pandemic in March 2020.

The carbon footprint of electronics, including smartphones, is about 3.7% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to Green Journal. Increasing the lifespans of these gadgets will have a significant impact on slowing climate change.  

SUPP shares dipped 1.6% to 32.7p from 33.25p yesterday, when the investment was announced, closing on a 31% discount. They are broadly the same level when the managers took over. The trust was launched at 100p nearly seven years ago. 

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