Astorg Partners buys Photonis

Paris-headquartered investor AXA Private Equity has agreed the sale of night vision specialist Photonis to French private equity firm Astorg Partners for an undisclosed sum.

With over €1bn in funds under management, Astorg will become Photonis’s majority shareholder alongside the management team. The transaction comes after seven years during which AXA had maintained ongoing support for the company.

Photonis is a former subsidiary of Netherlands-based Philips and is an international high-technology group specialising in photo sensor technology. It employs 1,000 people worldwide and operates in five production facilities, France, The Netherlands, USA and Mexico. The group primarily operates on the night vision, industrial and scientific applications and medical imaging markets.

Director at Astorg, Christian Couturier, said: “Photonis is now fully equipped to launch an ambitious acquisition designed to become No. 1 European independent player in the optical –electronic defence components, while boosting its presence in civil applications. Astrog is looking to bring the company and its management the support and funding in order to fully implement its strategy.”

AXA Private Equity and management have decided that Photonis will pay a bonus to all employees prior to the end of 2008. The transaction remains subject to the approval of several countries’ administrative authorities including anti-trust authorities.