Eau Ecarlate in PE hands again

Eau Ecarlate has landed in private equity hands for the fourth time following its acquisition by AXA Private Equity from Natexis Industrie and Barclays Private Equity. Financial details of the transaction were undisclosed.

Natexis Industrie backed the tertiary buyout of the business in November 2003 for an undisclosed amount and Barclays Private Equity retained a minority stake in the business.

Barclays Private Equity originally invested €72.3m for a majority stake in the business in a secondary buyout in December 2001. Argos Soditic was the original investor in the company back in September 2000 in a €53m management buy-in. For Argos Soditic, the divestment represented an IRR of 76.2%.

Eau Ecarlate is a French market leader in the supply of household cleaners. The company supplies high recognition products in the following fields: stain removers, surface cleaners, laundry aids, bleach tablets and optical cleaners. In the last five years, the company has demonstrated its ability to source, launch and develop new and existing products and to re-launch add-on French consumer brands.

The development strategy for Eau Ecarlate for the next five years, set out by the management team and fully supported by AXA Private Equity, is to transform the French company into a pan European group through targeted acquisitions to present in 2010 a European scale manager of top household brands.

Barclays Leveraged Finance is arranging senior debt facilities and European Capital is arranging mezzanine financing for the transaction.