GE Capital and 3i Join For Vimercati Buyout

Vimercati, an Italian company specialising in the design, development and production of electromechanical and electronic components for the automotive industry, was the subject of an L51.3 billion (ecu 26 million) buyout in December.

The deal was led by GE Capital’s Equity Capital Group and co-led by 3i Italy. Vimercati provides a classic example of a Family company buyout. Vimercati was a second-generation company owned by four family shareholders, three of whom had no further desire for active involvement in the business. GE Capital and 3i created a newco to acquire 100% of Vimercati, with GE Equity Capital Group taking a 33% holding and 3i Investments 32%. The remaining 35% is held by the fourth family shareholder, Aldo Vimercati, and two other senior managers. Banco Popolare di Sondrio arranged a L20 billion senior debt facility to support the transaction.

Vimercati’s product range includes lampholders for instrument panels, brake switches, fuse holders, light switches, rear door silver contact devices, door switches, push-pull switches and gold-contact switches. As well as its own-design components, Vimercati produces components tailored to customer specification. It sells to groups including BMW, Fiat, General Motors, Magneti Marelli, Mitsubishi, Volvo, Peugeot, Renault and others. Vimercati, which has received EAQF94 certification in recognition of its ability to maintain top-quality standards in mass production, generated total net revenues of some L60 billion in 1996.