In brief exits

Majority shareholder CVC Capital Partners and the management of Partners in Lighting International (PLI) appointed Merrill Lynch to assist in a strategic review of the company’s business and operations. This review may involve an evaluation of the sale of the entire business. PLI has grown from the Massive business, acquired by CVC in 2002, and through the acquisition last year of Modular Lighting Instruments. Further acquisitions are under consideration to enhance growth. Founded in 1981 as Citicorp’s European private equity arm, CVC completed its own management buyout in 1993. It closed its most recent European fund of US$4bn in 2001 and currently has total funds under management of more than US$9bn.

  • ARGUS Capital Partners, a Central and Eastern European private equity fund, sold its 21% stake in Aster City Cable, one of the largest Polish cable television and broadband operators, to Hicks Muse Tate & Furst. The sale represents a money multiple of around three times and generates an IRR of almost 90%. Ali Artunkal, a managing partner of ARGUS, said the results demonstrated the currently attractive exit climate for the right companies in Central and Eastern Europe. ARGUS was formerly a subsidiary of Prudential Insurance Company, but completed its own management buyout in June 2002.
  • Palamon Partners sold a 67% stake in TeamSystem to Bain Capital for about €280m. The business was acquired in June 2000 and the sale equates to a six times return and an IRR of more than 50%. TeamSystem is based in Italy and markets financial management software. Under Bain’s ownership the firm will be led by existing management, which is headed by Gianandrea De Bernardis.
  • ABN AMRO Capital’s portfolio company GB Holiday Parks purchased Park Resorts from Close Brothers Private Equity for £165m. ABN AMRO has a majority stake in GB Holiday Parks, following its acquisition in November last year and this is the first step of a planned buy-and-build strategy. Following this acquisition, the two businesses will be merged, creating the second largest holiday caravan park business in the UK. The combined revenues will be £112m and the combined Ebitda £27.6m. ABN AMRO Capital will invest a further £40m to bring its total investment to £75m.

It will own 68% of the combined business, with the balance owned by management and Close Brothers.

  • BC Partners, one of the firms in the jumbo buyout of Amadeus, has agreed to sell its 48.9% stake in KTM, an Austrian motorcycle manufacturer, to Cross Holdings. Cross Holdings is quoted on the Vienna stock exchange and completed a €57m rights issue for the purpose of the purchase. BC acquired its interest in KTM in 1999 through a €163m public-to-private transaction.

BC Partners has been active recently both on the buyout and the exit fronts. It recently sold Hemer-based Grohe AG to a consortium led by Texas Pacific Group and Credit Suisse First Boston Private Equity. On the acquisition front, it acquired French frozen foods retailer Picard Surgeles for €1.3bn. In 2003, Surgeles had a turnover of €747m, which represented12.7% growth on the previous year, and employed 3,200 people.