Charterhouse Forms Club For French Mid-Market Deals

Charterhouse SA, the French subsidiary of Charterhouse Development Capital, has formed an investor “club”, bringing in Foreign & Colonial, the Equity Finance fund and an unnamed Middle Eastern investor. The club members will provide Charterhouse SA with access to additional equity firepower for mid-size deals.

Charterhouse’s French business, which last year acquired a majority holding in Epargne Partenaires, has approximately FFr 1 billion (ecu 150 million) under management; there is consequently a substantial gap between Charterhouse SA’s own underwriting capacity and the target investment size of Charterhouse Development Capital’s pan-European vehicle, the GBP850 million (ecu 1.3 billion) Charterhouse Capital Partners VI fund, which in practice is unlikely to invest much less than GBP40 million per transaction.

The new French arrangement parallels the Indofin Charterhouse investor club, established in 1996, which invested in the Landal Greenparks deal (EVCJ October/November 1996, page 5). Its first deal, the buyout of SIA for approximately FFr 300 million, completed early in March (story, page 31).

While the Charterhouse Capital Partners VI vehicle has yet to make its first investment, Charterhouse SA enjoyed an active 1997, leading Domoservice, Nuit et Jour and Elico. Following the realisation of HRC through a sale to Bercy last year, Charterhouse SA also reinvested in the Bercy Management structure alongside Advent International (EVCJ October/November 1997, page 24).