CVC posts interest in PIN Group

CVC Capital, a global buyout firm, is amongst a host of potential buyers circling troubled German mail delivery business PIN Group.

Luxembourg-headquartered CVC heads a list of possible suitors comprising La Poste of France, Osterreichische Post of Austria and Suisse Post that have contacted PIN Group’s majority shareholder Axel Springer, according to a report in Handselblatt.

The report said that La Poste and Osterreichische Post have already dismissed the speculation. CVC declined to comment to Thomson Financial.

Axel Springer announced that it is selling its 63.7% stake in PIN Group in late 2007, with initial interest from Dutch mail group TNT and PIN minority shareholder Guenter Thiel.

CVC is an obvious private equity contender due to its previous purchases in the sector. In June 2005, CVC acquired a 25% stake in state-owned post office group Post Danmark for approximately US$209m. The share purchase in Denmark’s national postal operator, which had turnover of €1.57bn turnover in 2006, included a three percent allocation to employees.

The deal enabled CVC to back a Post Danmark-fronted investment in Belgian Post, known as De Post-La Poste, a few months later. Under the terms of the strategic partnership, Post Danmark and CVC took an interest of 50% minus one share for €300m, with the Belgian government retaining the majority share in the business, which posted turnover of €2.24bn in 2006.

Other private equity firms to have invested in the sector include Apollo Management, a US buyout group, which acquired the logistics division of Dutch postal and express company TNT, for US$1.48bn in August 2006, beating off competition from Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, Bain Capital, The Blackstone Group and PAI Partners; and Candover, which bought UK business mail group DX Services for £349m in September 2006, before merging it with Secure Mail Services, for a combined transaction value of €692m .

By Robert Venes