Doughty Looks for quick Saft sale

Doughty Hanson has asked bankers to pitch for an IPO of Saft, its first French investment, which recently completed a controversial recapitalisation. The battery manufacturer, which Doughty acquired in January 2004, was recapitalised earlier this year. Limited partners in Doughty’s fourth fund fought off potential dilution to take the lion’s share of the €175m dividend generated by the recapitalisation. They obliged the GP to close the fund for the capped amount of €1.6bn.

The initial buyout valued Saft at €390m, with investors recouping 10% of their total commitments at a 1.5x return on investment after the recapitalisation. The main investors in Doughty IV, which invested in Saft, include Pantheon Ventures, HarbourVest and JP Morgan Fleming.

Under Doughty’s ownership, Saft has matured into an IPO candidate based on strong earnings. The company’s 2004 Ebitda was 25% ahead of budget and many of its end-markets are performing well. Doughty acquired Saft as a non-core disposal from Alcatel.

  • In another potentially quick turnaround to listing, bankers have also been pitching for a possible IPO of Debenhams. The UK retailer was bought by CVC, Texas Pacific Group and Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity in December 2003 for £1.7bn. A mandate for the IPO is expected within the next few weeks, and bankers said that the listing could take place later this year.
  • German pay-TV company Premiere floated two weeks ago just two years after it was acquired by Permira. IG Index, a UK spread-betting company, is preparing for an imminent flotation. It was taken private through an MBO backed by CVC in 2003.