Healthy realisation for Electr

Electra Partners Europe has capitalised on strong interest in the UK nursing home sector, generating a good return for investors with the sale of Ashbourne Healthcare for £280m to a unit of HBOS. The firm, due to start raising its second fund shortly, realised proceeds of £112m on the disposal to Bank of Scotland Corporate. Electra invested £15m in the original buyout in April 2003 and provided further funding for short periods to back add-on acquisitions.

In the final quarter of last year, Ashbourne completed the acquisition of Highclear, a smaller rival, for more than £60m. That took Electra’s investment in the business to £121m, making Ashbourne the fourth largest operator of care homes after Bupa, Four Seasons and the combination of Barchester and Westminster. Extra investment from Electra enabled Ashbourne to acquire a further 2,000 beds in more than 50 nursing homes. Its total estate comprises more than 160 facilities.

HBOS bought Ashbourne at the end of an auction run by Deloitte. Allianz Capital Partners and Blackstone were also involved in the process. Blackstone already owns Southern Cross, another UK residential nursing home care provider, which it acquired last September for £162m.

Electra Partners Europe is an independent private equity company with €2.1bn under management as of March 31 2004. With offices in London, Paris and Frankfurt, the company has completed 76 buyouts over the past 15 years. Recent exits include the sale of cleaning services group Safety-Kleen Europe to JP Morgan Partners in July 2004.

Recent acquisitions include TKFG, a supplier of high-end aluminium castings to the automotive industry, from Thyssen Krupp Automotive for an enterprise value of €155m. TKFG, with sales of €280m, is a supplier of parts to global customers including Volkswagen, DaimlerChrysler, BMW, Ford and Porsche. The company is headquartered in Hildesheim, Germany.