Last word

Five bids came in for Westminster Healthcare, the nursery home business that 3i acquired for £267m in 2002. The bids value the company between £450m and £500m. Bidders include Blackstone, which beat out Cinven in the race for Southern Cross, Allianz Capital and potential trade buyer, Bupa. Advisor Rothschild sent out around 20 sales memoranda earlier this month. The healthcare sector, worth £11bn, is an attractive area due to the UK’s aging population. Private equity groups have made inroads into hospitals and nursing homes in recent years.

Degussa is looking to spin off its food ingredients division for around €600m. The business is likely to attract financial buyers although the sector is not without its problems. Blackstone acquired Nutrinova, a food ingredients company, when it bought German chemicals group Celanese. It had planned to sell off the business, but did not proceed with the sale.

Sovereign Capital, the independent mid-market UK private equity provider, recapitalised its investee companies, SENAD and C.H.O.I.C.E. The recapitalisation, combined with investment yield to date, has returned 40% of money invested to date by Sovereign Capital Limited Partnership I. This recapitalisation has enabled both companies to repay all of Sovereign Capital’s original investment, generating an IRR of 77%.

0BC Partners is rumoured to have won exclusivity in the circa E1.5bn Picard Surgeles auction. Calyon and RBS are believed to be backing BC’s bid with debt financing facilities. BC Partners declined to comment on the situation. A Candover and Chevrillon-led private equity consortium bought Picard Surgeles from Carrefour at the start of 2001 in a €920m MBO. HSBC and Goldman Sachs are running the auction.

0Compass Partners launched a €310m recapitalisation of N&W Global Vending, the drinks and snacks vending business.

Compass bought out the business from Electrolux Zanussi and refinanced it in 2000, when it was called Necta.

The debt is split between €235m in senior and €75m in mezzanine. Goldman Sachs Mezzanine has taken €60m of the mezzanine and there will be no further syndication of this piece.

Senior debt is priced between 225bp and 325bp.