In brief mid-markets

CapMan, the Nordic middle-market private equity firm, is acquiring Metso Drives from Metso Corporation in a transaction with a debt-free value of about €98m. CapMan’s senior adviser, Orvo Siimesto, becomes chairman of the board of Metso Drives, while Erkki Pylvanainen will continue as president of the company. Metso Drives is the world’s leading provider of drive systems for the pulp and paper industry. Net sales totalled €157m in 2004. To date, funds managed by CapMan have invested in 148 companies in the Nordic region and notched up 70 exits.

  • ABN AMRO Capital added to its portfolio of European consumer companies with the acquisition of Danish retail, food and consumer products group Glud & Marstrand Invest. The company was acquired in a secondary buyout together with its management, led by CEO Svend Brixen.
  • The vendor was a consortium of investors including Kirkbi, Axcel II and Nordea Pension Danmark. Founded in 1879, Hedensted-based Glud & Marstrand employs about 1,200 staff and had turnover of DKr1.6bn in 2004. The deal is ABN AMRO Capital’s first buyout in 2005.
  • West Private Equity is backing the £25m management buyout of National Britannia Group, the health and environmental risk management company. National Britannia is being sold by a consortium of private and trade investors. The UK safety, health and environmental consultancy market was estimated to be worth £1.1bn in 2004, and is expected to grow at some 14% per annum over the coming decade.

This is a result of increased UK and European legislation and regulation, a growing burden of compliance on business and government organisations, and higher insurance costs. Britannia counts FTSE 100 companies and UK Government and public sector bodies among its clients. The deal is consistent with West Private Equity’s buy-and-build strategy in the UK service industries.

  • DM Private Equity has bought UK off-licence chain Unwins for £32m. The 168-year-old Kent-based company was put up for sale in 2004 after three years of losses. Unwins has 387 stores in the south of England and employs 2,500 people. It reported turnover of £179m in the year to February 2004, down from £197m in the year before. DM Private Equity beat Castel, the French owner of the Oddbins chain, to acquire Unwins. The sale required support from Unwins’ 84 shareholders, who are all descendants of Michael Wetz, who acquired Unwins in 1921 through Phillips Newman, a spirit importer.
  • Nordic Capital is buying Sweden’s Atos Medical AB from Fisher Scientific International in a deal valued at about US$110m. Atos is a medical device manufacturer and had revenues of SKr260m in 2004. Founded in 1986, Atos Medical has five subsidiaries in Europe and one in the US.