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A.T.U to list in Frankfurt

Doughty Hanson is to list A.T.U, a German operator of specialised automotive parts stores on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Doughty Hanson acquired a majority interest in the group in June 2002 for an undisclosed sum.

The IPO is planned for the second quarter of 2004 and is hoped to be completed by mid-June.

Credit Suisse First Boston and HSBC Trinkhaus & Burkhardt are joint global co-ordinators for the IPO. Syndicate banks are HypoVereinsbank, Lehman Brothers, Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein and DZ Bank.

Shares will be offered to institutional investors in Germany and internationally. Retail investors will also be able to subscribe to the offer.

Werner Aichinger, chief executive of A.T.U, said: “A substantial part of the offer will come form a capital increase. The proceeds will allow us to fully repay the shareholder loan and to reduce our indebtedness, which will help us strengthen the balance sheet and position us for further expansion.”

A.T.U has continued to develop its business successfully in the first four months of 2004. During this period it has opened 11 new branches bringing the total to 461 branches with another 26 branch openings planned by the end of 2004.

Doughty Hanson, which has yet to close its most recent fund offering Doughty Hanson Fund IV, is taking advantage of the upturn in market conditions having also announced its intention to float UK football clothing and equipment manufacturer Umbro earlier this month – see exit news. The firm is also rumoured to be in talks to sell Dunlop Standard Aerospace. The deal is reported to be valued at close to £1bn.