CVC and AMP Fund Laughton Rainsford Add-On

In a classic LBU transaction CVC Capital Partners and AMP Asset Management Australia are providing further equity to support Laughton Rainsford’s GBP32.5 million (ecu 50 million) acquisition of Thomas Cork. The two groups jointly backed a GBP40 million MBI/MBO of Laughton Rainsfords last January.

The management of Thomas Cork, which was itself the subject of a buyout in 1995, are rolling over their shareholdings into Laughton Rainsfords. Societe Generale provided additional debt for the acquisition.

Thomas Cork is the largest non-food merchandising company in the UK and Republic of Ireland. It sources, distributes and manages in-store displays of products such as housewares, the Hartz brand of pet accessories, baby and hair-care products, stationery and books.

These activities are complementary to Laughton Rainsfords range of branded and private label personal care products, which include the Manicure nail treatment and Lady Jayne hair care brands. Laughton Rainsfords has substantial operations in Australia and New Zealand as well as the UK, along with a growing presence in Asian markets.

The enlarged group will employ over 2,000 people. Its pro forma turnover for 1997 was GBP108 million and its pre-tax profits GBP10 million.

Rob Lucas of CVC commented that the acquisition “provided Laughton Rainsfords with a unique opportunity to achieve greater critical mass in the UK marketplace and broaden its customer base and product offering”. Laughton Rainsfords’ group chief executive Robin Russell added: “The acquisition is a key strategic step in our ambitious long-term growth plan and significantly strengthens both businesses”.