In brief mid-market news

Enterprise Investors has sold its 60% stake in Polish juice producer Agros Nova to Sonda for €63.7m. Sonda is owned by the Niewiadomski family, Enterprise’s partner in Agros Nova. Polish banks BPH, Rabobank and WBK provided Sonda with debt financing on the deal.

  • Beringea, manager of the ProVen VCTs, has announced the sale of Ma Potters, a restaurant chain with 16 locations around the UK, to Tragus, owner of the Café Rouge chain. The sale of Ma Potters for £14.15m (€20.7m) generated a return of 2.5x Beringea’s initial investment and an IRR of 27%. It is expected that the sale will result in the payment of another special dividend to ProVen VCT ordinary shareholders and ProVen Growth and Income VCT ordinary shareholders. Beringea originally invested in the Ma Potter’s branded restaurant business, alongside co-investors Chrysalis VCT, in 2003 to provide capital to roll out the chain nationally. Specialising in establishing restaurants in shopping centre-based sites such as the Trafford Centre in Manchester, Meadowhall and Glasgow’s Xscape, the company grew quickly.
  • French retail clothing chain Vivarte, which is owned by private equity firm Charterhouse, is rumoured to be acquiring French clothing retailer Beryl, according to reports. Beryl employs 650 staff through 91 shops and is owned by French bank Credit Agricole.
  • European mid-market firm Bridgepoint has sold the rest of its investment in WT Foods, an ethnic and specialty foods supplier. Bridgepoint has sold WT Foods to GraceKennedy, a Caribbean food and retail conglomerate listed in Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados. The London-based private equity firm more than returned its original 2001 investment of £128m (€187.4m) in WT Foods with the sale of its Noon Products unit, which supplies Indian, Oriental, Thai and other Asian products, to Ireland’s Kerry Group for €179m in late 2005. WT Foods’ remaining three businesses comprised Enco, a supplier of Afro-Caribbean foods and drinks; Chadha, a specialist supplier of Oriental products to the grocery trade; and Funnybones, an American, Mexican, Cajun, Indian and Oriental food specialist for the foodservice market. WF Foods’ annualised sales are currently £60m, according to Bridgepoint. Bridgepoint also announced that it has taken a majority stake in Dragenopharm Apotheker Püschl, a German contract manufacturing business for the European generic prescription drug market, for an undisclosed sum.
  • CVC Capital Partners, one of the two private equity firms at the heart of the GMB union’s attack on “asset strippers”, has acquired Danish personal retail chain Matas for an undisclosed amount. The transaction involved CVC buying 206 stores from about 125 stores owners, with conditional agreements to acquire a further 45 stores over the next three years.