CDC Equity Capital

CDC Equity Capital invests in unquoted companies to help such firms move to a new stage in their development. CDC Equity Capital provides private equity primarily to large companies that are typically leaders in their market. CDC Capital Equity invests as a lead or a co-lead investor and as a majority stakeholder and/or within a consortium of equity sponsors.

Since its creation, CDC Equity Capital:

* has been one of the five largest players in major leveraged buyouts in France,

* has taken part in four of the ten largest French leveraged buyouts, either as lead or co-lead investor, l has demonstrated the ability to attract other investors who share a common investment philosophy, l has acquired interests in seven companies having a cumulative turnover in excess of E6.5billion.

As of mid-year 2001, CDC Equity Capital was managing E230 million in holdings in seven companies. CDC Equity Capital manages several funds of which two are dedicated to buyouts, CDC Entreprises and CDC Entreprise II (1st closing at E300 million; fund raising finalised in 2001), with a combined total of more than E600 million in assets under management. The individual investments are normally between E10 million and E60 million. Whenever necessary, CDC Equity Capital can gather the capital needed for investments of significantly larger amounts.

CDC Equity Capital is part of the Group Caisse des Depots, an historic actor in the French industrial and banking world with a strong financial base (E350 billion in assets under management and an AAA/Aaa rating). Thanks to its strong relationship with industrial and financial subsidiaries, the group can bring many possible synergies in the areas of financing, structured products, employee- savings plans, industrial and commercial relations to each new project.

CDC Equity Capital is a 100 per cent subsidiary of CDC IXIS Private Equity (formerly CDC-Participations), which is one of the three leading investment capital participants in France (E2 billion in assets under management). With 15 years of experience in each investment area (from venture capital to IPO financing, including generalist or specialised development capital), CDC IXIS Private Equity provides high performance sector-based expertise in the new information technologies, telecommunications and life sciences.

Investment Philosophy

CDC Equity Capital only invests in a very small number of companies and is dedicated to these investments both during the acquisition phase and in the subsequent follow-up and development of the company.

Management are always at the heart of investments :

* CDC Equity Capital’s investment is based on the three to five year strategic plan,

* they are provided with total management independence,l CDC Equity Capital provides management with the means to achieve the common ambitions, and

* CDC Equity Capital includes management in the capital and management shares in the capital gains.

CDC Equity Capital is a partner as well as a shareholder. It only invests in a company where it shares the strategic vision of the management and usually holds several seats on the board of directors.

CDC Equity Capital’s investment decisions are entrusted to five partners who have more than 50 years of combined experience in several areas of private equity, including company management, strategic and business consulting, structured finance, and legal and tax planning.

The managers and their development plan are always at the centre of the financing. CDC Equity Capital structures the acquisition around management’s three to five year plan.

In general, the financial structure includes a leveraging effect and strives to provide appropriate financing for the company’s development plan (for example, internal and/or external growth, or exploitation of new opportunities such as electronic commerce.)

CDC Equity Capital primarily studies investment opportunities in France, but also in Europe, as required to assist the development of the companies in the portfolio and with the support of partner investment funds or companies located in the UK, the Netherlands, Spain and Germany.