In brief top news

Kabel BW, which is owned by Blackstone and CDPQ, launched a CCC+/Caa1 rated €170m unsecured third-lien bond as part an aggressive refinancing that includes €568m of senior debt and a €78m second-lien loan. Despite speculation that the bond could be delayed or pulled due to investor objections over the structure, covenant package and leverage, the 10-year, non-call one FRN priced sooner than expected at par with a coupon of 736bp over three-month Euribor, The new senior credit comprises a €185m seven-year term loan A, a €161.6m eight-year B and a nine-year €161.5m C – of which €170m will be drawn immediately. There is also a new €55m revolver and a €35m acquisition facility.

  • Ripplewood made its first investment in the power electronics industry with the acquisition of Alcatel’s electrical power system activities. Bruce Brock, the former chief operating officer of Lucent Power Systems, will manage the business for Ripplewood. France-based Alcatel provides communications solutions to telecommunication carriers, internet service providers and enterprises for the delivery of voice, data and video applications to their customers or employees. The units that have been acquired comprise the AEG SVS Power Supply Systems, Alcatel Converters, Harmer & Simmons and Saft Power Systems business lines.
  • Enel, the Italian power company, is still awaiting further bids on its Wind telecoms unit. Blackstone is one of six private equity firms that have been doing due diligence on the company, with speculation in January than the firm would bid for at least a 30% stake in the business. Enel is considering floating Wind in 2006, but is also looking for offers close to its €13bn book value on the company. The private equity firms have been invited to take a minority stake ahead of the flotation.

A consortium led by Italian entrepreneur Cesare Romiti said previously it would sweeten its €12bn bid for Wind by January 20. Enel is still waiting on the improved offer, however.

  • Henderson Private Capital has invested US$20.7m in Jubilant Organosys, an Indian contract research and manufacturing business. This is the third investment in a month for the firm’s Asia fund and follows European investments in Homann Feinkost and Boat International, as well as a £136m first close of the Henderson PFI Secondary Fund.

In the past year, the Asia fund has invested US$68m and is now 66% invested. Roger Greville, global head of private capital said: “We anticipate that 2005 will be an active year for all of our funds.”

  • German roadside services company Tank & Rast’s €820m all-senior LBO loan has been launched into general syndication through SG. The company is being acquired by Terra Firma. The move follows a successful sub-underwriting phase in which Dresdner KW, HVB Group and Mizuho Corporate Bank joined on €200m sub-underwriting tickets with €75m target holds only to be scaled back to €150m. WestLB subsequently joined as an arranger sub-underwriting €100m with a €50m hold. Despite a huge number of reverse enquiries, the deal has been launched to an extremely limited retail phase.