In brief top news

UK oil and gas surface facilities provider Petrofac is to launch its IPO shortly, as it looks to complete a London listing by the end of September. The company, which has private equity firm 3i among its shareholders, is expected to complete an IPO of £200m–£250m through CSFB and Lehman Brothers.

The company has achieved strong growth in recent years, with revenues for 2004 reaching US$950m, up 52.7% on the previous year. This continued the performance of 2003, when revenues were US$622m, up 59% from US$391m the previous year.

Alongside significant top line growth, the company has also achieved bottom line growth. In 2004, Ebitda was US$96m, double the level of 2003. The company has also recently appointed a new chairman – Rodney Chase, former deputy group chief executive at BP.

0Carlyle, Cinven and other private equity groups are lining up potential offers for Cadbury Schweppes’ European soft drinks division, sources familiar with the situation said. A sales memorandum has not yet been sent out and Cadbury Schweppes has not announced its intention to sell the business. However, private equity sources said the business was not performing as expected. The division is valued at about £1.5bn and rumours of a sale have been percolating for some time. Carlyle is a mooted bidder because the firm has experience in the sector, as a shareholder of Dr Pepper/7 Up.

0Areva, a French nuclear energy group, has received offers in the €800m to €900m range for its Versailles-based Framatome Connectors International (FCI) electrical connectors subsidiary. This is less than the minimum €1bn sought, according to reports. Offers have come from Bain Capital, One Equity, BC Partners and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. One of them will be selected in the middle of next month to enter into exclusive arrangements with Areva. Other potential bidders had been named as PAI Partners, CVC Capital Partners, Apax Partners, Blackstone and TPG Ventures.

0Allianz Private Equity Partners raised €400m for its debut fund of funds at first close. This is the firm’s first fund of funds offered to institutional investors outside the Allianz group. APEP Dachfonds has a target of €750m and will invest in buyouts worldwide. APEP expects both additional German as well as international investors to contribute to the fund of funds over the next 12 months. APEP Dachfonds is expected to have closed by the end of August 2006.