In brief exit strategies

STAR Capital Partners, the UK infrastructure private equity fund, has sold Inexus, a gas transportation business, to Challenger Infrastructure Fund of Australia for €681m. Earning almost £260m from the sale, this is the first exit from STAR 1, the €581m fund that closed in 2001. Inexus started life as two companies: TotalFinaElf Connect (Connect) and TotalFinaElf Pipelines (TPL), both subsidiaries of TotalFinaElf Midstream UK. STAR acquired them in August 2001 for £18m, and merged them under the name of Inexus. According to reports, STAR is seeking to raise about €600m for its second fund.

  • German online mortgage broker Interhyp is to complete its IPO in late September or early October, after the German general election on September 18. It had previously been unclear whether the deal would come ahead of the elections. The company is looking to list through Deutsche Bank as sole bookrunner, with Sal Oppenheim as co-lead and ING-DiBa as selling agent. The deal, which is expected to be for less than €100m, will include a retail portion.

The company is owned by founders Marcus Wolsdorf and Robert Haselsteiner along with venture capital funds 3i and Earlybird. The Germany-based VC is also a shareholder in Tipp24, which confirmed its IPO plan last week. The online lottery operator is expected to come to market through Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley later this year.

  • Industri Kapital has sold its remaining stake in debt collection firm Intrum Justitia. The sale of 9.1m shares or 11.7% of the company netted IK a further US$76m, and represented its final exit from the 25% holding it had retained following the IPO in May 2002. The placement was completed through Carnegie’s ECM syndicate desk and all the stock was placed with Icelandic bank Landsbanki Islands, Icelandic fund manager Burdaras and Swedish fund Cevian Capital.

Industri Kapital also announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire Bonna Sabla, the French leader in prefabricated concrete products, from AXA Private Equity and other shareholders, for approximately €235m, providing an exit for AXA. Bonna Sabla employs 2,800 staff and expects to generate a turnover of about €400m in 2005, of which 30% is from international markets.

  • Polish-based private equity house Enterprise Investors has announced a full exit from LPP, a fashion retailer in Central and Eastern Europe, through a series of block transactions on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. According to a statement, the US$61m transaction yielded a 4.5x investment multiple for the fund and an IRR of 90%. Polish Enterprise Fund IV acquired a 13% stake in LPP through an equity increase and by purchasing shares from a shareholder in May 2003. During the last two years LPP’s sales and net profit have almost doubled and are expected to reach US$237m and US$19m, respectively, in 2005.