Activa Capital to control BFI

French mid-market private equity firm Activa Capital has purchased a majority stake in BFI Optilas, a specialist distributor of electronic and photonic products based in France. BFI Optilas is a spin-off from Avnet, a Nasdaq listed distributor of electronic components.

Debt for the transaction was provided by Banque OBC, HSBC and Banque Finama. Activa Capital was advised by Constantin; Jones Day; August & Debouzy; EuroPartners; and Gras Savoye. BFI Optilas’ co-presidents, Phil Dunning and Philippe Gruson, have reinvested in the company and, alongside Avnet, retain a minority stake in the company.

Founded in 1998 by the merger of BFI Ibexa and Optilas Group, the company has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Avnet since 1995. BFI Optilas targets turnover of €120m for the year ending in June 2006.

BFI Optilas is Activa Capital’s third investment in 2006. Activa Capital acquired a majority stake in Créal, a French manufacturer of aluminium windows, from Sigefi Private Equity and founder Claude Caprini in April. In February, the firm completed the MBO of French procurement externalisation business Logitrade. Deal terms were not disclosed for either transaction.

Activa Capital’s investments in BFI Optilas, Créal and Logitrade were made from the Activa Capital Fund FCPR, which closed on €162m at the end of 2003.

The fund is understood to be currently more than 50% invested and the firm expects to begin marketing a new vehicle in 2007.