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Apax exits Dagard through secondary buyout

Dagard, a French company that manufactures insulated enclosures for cold and clean rooms, has been sold to a bank-backed consortium of private investors. The business was a 1998 MBO investment from funds managed by Apax Partners, including Altamir & Cie.

The acquisition has been financed by the private equity arms of IDIA Participations, (a subsidiary of Credit Agricole), BNP-Paribas Developpement and Societe Generale Partenaires. Societe Generale financed the 1998 transaction and is also the co-arranger of debt in the new deal. The three banks now hold 40 per cent of the company’s equity, management has around 15 per cent and private investors hold the rest.

Bertrand Pivin, director at Apax, said: “Dagard’s attractive business perspectives have led management and a number of existing shareholders to continue to participate in the group’s future development.” Since the 1998 buyout of the company it has expanded on the Iberian Peninsula and in Latin America, reinforcing its leadership in clean rooms for the pharmaceuticals and electronics rooms. Under Apax’s ownership Dagard’s revenues increased from EURO70 million a year to approximately EURO95 million. In June 2001 Apax made a partial exit when 3i backed a EURO6.6 million MBO of Dagard’s subsidiaries in Spain, Portugal and Brazil, known as Dagard Isosur.

Dagard is a 50-year old company based in Boussac, central France, and has a staff of 400. It was held by private investors prior to the 1998 buyout and was previously a subsidiary of aerospace and defence specialist Thales. It designs, manufactures and markets insulation panels for modular cold rooms and isothermal units and sterile enclosures for clean rooms and controlled environments. The company produces one million square metres of panels and more than 20,000 doors every year. Customers include Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Holiday Inn, Marks & Spencer, Peugeot Formula 1, Motorola, Alcatel, IBM, Novartis, Siemens, Hewlett Packard and Neufchatel University.