3i takes Peter Black private

Peter Black Holdings, a shoes-to-healthcare group supplying leading UK and European retailers, is set to return to private ownership via a GBP304 million public-to-private buyout led by 3i.

3i’s recommended bid values Peter Black’s shares at 350p each. In the half year to July 31, the company posted sales of GBP104.9 million, a 12 per cent increase over the comparable period in 1999, and generated operating profit of GBP12.1 million, representing an eight per cent improvement over last year.

The financing for the buyout included GBP80 million from 3i and senior term, mezzanine and working capital facilities totalling GBP189 million from a bank syndicate led by Royal Bank of Scotland. Existing Peter Black shareholders are rolling over GBP31 million alongside GBP4 million from the company’s management.

Peter Black, which earlier this year expanded its Personal Care division through the acquisition of Hexel International, supplies groups including Tesco, Superdrug, Marks & Spencer, Next, Sainsbury, Asda, Walmart, Safeway and DM Drogerie. The group’s share price was adversely affected by Marks & Spencer’s recent well-publicised troubles, but 3i points out that Peter Black operates in product areas where Marks has a relatively low market share and where potential exists for substantial increases in sales’.