CBPE Exits Hamilton Acorn –

Hamilton Acorn, a long-standing investment from the Close Brothers Private Equity (CBPE) portfolio, has been sold to ANZA of Sweden for an undisclosed sum.

The company, a supplier of paintbrushes to the U.K. professional market, was the subject of a management buyout from Lionheart in 1996 by CBPE and three of the company’s directors, Dennis Marrison, Shirley Henderson and Ralph Brindle. CBPE originally invested GBP2.4 million in Hamilton Acorn and has achieved a return of around two-and-one-half times that amount.

The transaction will create the largest manufacturing group for paint applicators and decorating tools for the professional market in Europe. All shares have been sold to ANZA, including the shares of the directors, who will remain part of the management team. ANZA is a leading manufacturer and distributor of painting tools in Scandinavia with production facilities concentrated in Sweden and Denmark. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Norwegian group Jordan A/S.

Hamilton Acorn is a well-established company in its field, founded in 1746. Prior to CBPE’s investment, Lionheart, formerly known as Spong Holdings, owned the company. In 1990, Lionheart acquired what was then known as Acorn Decorating Products (Acorn), from Williams Holdings for GBP10 million. The acquisition was funded through a rights offer to Lionheart shareholders.

Citicorp made arrangements to place any shares with institutional and other investors if they were not bought by qualifying shareholders. In addition, Williams Holdings made a cash injection into Acorn at the time of the acquisition.

Since CBPE invested in the company, it has grown sales, market share and profits. Neil Murphy of CBPE, who has been on the board of Hamilton Acorn since 1996, said: “Hamilton Acorn is another successful realization from our 1994 fund.”