Apax France double buyout

Funds advised by Apax Partners France have completed the secondary buyout of Heytens and Mondial Tissus, two home-decoration retail chains, in a €180m deal. Heytens and Mondial Tissus were previously held by a group of investors led by French buyout firm Fonds Partenaires and the CIC group. The acquisition was made in partnership with Didier Jacquard, a co-founder of Mondial Tissus, who will be the chairman of the newly formed group.

Heytens specialises in selling made-to-measure curtains through a 109-store chain in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland. Mondial Tissus is France’s number-one retailer of cut-to-measure fabric, with 70 stores located in major urban shopping areas. In 2004, the two chains posted sales of €174.4m and operating income of €21.6m.

Apax Partners’ investments in specialty retail include Afflelou, Aigle, Celio, Frans Bonhomme, Gifi, Histoire d’Or, Hubert, Morgan, Rue du Commerce and Sephora. The acquisition debt was arranged by Calyon.

The French buyout market has had a quiet year so far, after an exceptionally busy end to the year in 2004. According to Thomson Financial, the market was worth US$526m between January and May, down from over US$8bn in the final three months of last year alone.