In brief exits

Carlyle has exited its investment in Apama through a trade sale to Progress Software Corp for US$28.2m. Apama is a provider of real-time analytics software to the financial industry. Customers include banks and hedge funds such as ABN AMRO, JP Morgan and Deutsche. Carlyle first invested in Apama in February 2002. The sale continues the return of capital to investors in Carlyle Europe Venture Partners (CEVP), which was launched in 2000. Progress Software was advised by Foley Hoag LLP. Carlyle was advised by McDermott Will & Emery.

  • The IPO of French battery company Saft is expected to go ahead before the summer, according to bankers. Doughty Hanson acquired it from Alcatel in October 2003 in a deal that put an enterprise value of €410m on the company. An IPO will be yet another example of private equity firms selling out of investments with a fast turnaround. A two-year time horizon is now relatively common, while three to five years has traditionally been the exit timeframe for private equity investments. Bankers said Saft’s debt currently stood at about €300m, but that will be reduced thanks to proceeds from the IPO. Goldman Sachs is bookrunner for the deal, with BNP Paribas and SG thought to be below Goldman in the syndicate.
  • Actis is selling its 9.3% stake in Celtel, an African cellular network provider, for a 5.5x return on its money. Operating under its previous names of CDC Capital Partners, the firm has invested US$56m in Celtel since 1998. MTC, the Kuwaiti telecom company, is buying Celtel for €2.6bn.

MTC will acquire an 85% stake, and will purchase the remaining 15% within two years. Celtel currently manages 13 mobile and one fixed line telecoms operation in 13 countries across sub-Saharan Africa. The company has grown revenues by approximately 115% a year. Actis, which spun out in 2004, has invested more than US$600m in the African private sector. Most recently it partnered with the AIG African Infrastructure Fund (AAIF) to take a majority stake in Nigerian telecom, Starcomms.

  • Bowmark Capital, the UK middle market private equity firm, sold its 30% stake in Living Ventures to the Restaurant Group in a £26m deal. The sale has generated a 3.9x return on investment and a 45% IRR. Bowmark invested in the company in 2001, in which time Ebitda has increased from £0.5m to £3.3m.

Graphite Capital sold Ridgmont Care Homes to Ashbourne Healthcare, generating a return of 6.4x on its original investment and an IRR of 76%. The deal values Ridgmont at £88m. Graphite acquired a 78% stake in Ridgmont in 2001, when it backed the £17m secondary buyout led by Roger Storey. Under Graphite’s ownership, Ridgmont has grown from 19 to 29 homes. Ashbourne is backed by Cannon.