Doughty Hanson prepares Saft IPO

The analyst meeting for the IPO of French industrial battery producer Saft took place on May 17, raising the prospect of private equity owner Doughty Hanson pricing a deal in mid-June.

The price range is still to be announced, but bankers are talking in terms of a deal size of €300m for a free float of around half the company. Goldman Sachs is the bookrunner, with BNP Paribas, Cazenove and HSBC CCF making up the syndicate.

Doughty Hanson closed the acquisition of Saft in January 2004 in a deal that gave the company an enterprise value of €410m. The debt component was €290m while the equity was €120m. Based on the rumoured size of the IPO, Saft’s equity value is around €600m.

The debt from the acquisition was refinanced in February this year through a new €460m facility arranged by Mizuho. Doughty Hanson’s stake is around 87.5%, with the remainder owned by management.

The IPO will see Saft raise around €80m of new money that will be used to pay down debt. There will also be another refinancing, which is expected to involve a new term loan of €475m. The post-IPO net debt to Ebitda multiple will be around 3.3x.

Meanwhile, Doughty Hanson is believed to be gearing up again for the IPO of UK food group RHM. Talk of an IPO was revived in July 2004 but the deal never went ahead. CSFB is thought to be advising on the prospect of an IPO in 2005.

Doughty Hanson bought the company for £1.2bn in August 2000 from Tomkins. The IPO was first flagged up in 2002 following the appointment of CSFB as strategic adviser.