ABN AMRO spins out AAC

The Dutch banking group ABN AMRO has spun out part of its North European private equity operations into AAC Capital Partners.

The mid-market specialist, covering deals in the €50m–€500m range, will focus on companies based in the UK, the Netherlands and the Nordic states.

ABN AMRO will retain a 20% stake in the firm, with the partners holding the balance. It will continue to manage a €1.1bn investment portfolio on the bank’s behalf. In a show of confidence in the partners’ skills, the Dutch bank will hand over a further €2bn for them to invest.

AAC Capital Partners will carry on with its strategy of investing in cash-generative businesses operating in the consumer, industrial and service sectors.

“Independence will allow us to build value even more effectively, while giving us greater freedom to respond to the needs of the market,” explained Gerben Kuijper, the firm’s chairman.

Since 2000, the partners have invested in 60 companies and have realised 24 investments generating total proceeds of €1.5bn. Disposals include UK caravan operator Park Resorts, bought for €388m in November 2004 and sold for €649m in March 2007. The deal notched up an IRR of 49%. Another deal involved selling Scandinavian home ware group Littala for €235m in August 2007 after acquiring it for an undisclosed sum. The IRR was 47%.

So far this year, the partners have done six deals. One of the most high profile was the purchase of Dunlop Aircraft Tyres for an undisclosed sum in May 2007.

Meanwhile, ABN AMRO said it was shutting down its private equity arms in Italy and Spain, while keeping its operations in France and Australia.