CVC sells ista for €2.4bn

CVC Capital Partners, has sold its stake in ista, a German utilities billing business, in a €2.4bn secondary buyout to Charterhouse Capital Partners.

Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer advised CVC Capital Partners, which has rolled over the proceeds and reinvested in a minority stake in ista.

CVC bought ista from German utility group E.ON when it was known as Viterra Energy Group in early 2003 for approximately €930m including assumed debt of €85m. E.ON had to sell ista due to US competition concerns following its purchase of Powergen.

Essen-based ista provides submetering and billing of energy, water and ancillary costs in 24 countries across Europe, North America and Asia. Since its acquisition by CVC sales have increased from approximately €460m to €600m.

The company has also expanded, increasing from 3,700 staff to approximately 4,500, as well as making a number of bolt-on acquisitions internationally and in Germany, the most recent being France’s CIS.

Other business service investments for Charterhouse include Autobar, an €800m acquisition from the Kuwait Investment Authority in May 2004 and PHS, a £600m purchase in June 2005.