Last word

3i, a UK-listed private equity firm, is in exclusive negotiations with rival Change Capital Partners on a deal to sell its stake in fashion retailer Republic that could value the company at £100m (US$177.1m). Change Capital has reportedly fought off rival bids from HgCapital and Graphite Capital to win the exclusive negotiations. 3i took an 18% stake in Republic in February 2004 as part of a £20m investment to buy equity, loans and preference shares. Republic has increased its stores by 50% in the past 12 years to 60 and for the 12 months to January 2004 posted total sales of more than £57m on profits of just under £8m.

  • Nasdaq-listed industrial company Reinhold Industries has sold NP Aerospace, its fast-growing UK division, to US-based buyout firm Carlyle for £30m (US$53.4m). NP Aerospace is one of Europe’s largest suppliers of composite moulded products to the aerospace, medical imaging, automotive and defence industries and had been the source of much of Reinhold Industries’ recent growth.

In Reinhold Industries’ second-quarter results posted last month, NP Aerospace’s sales were up 71% to US$5.9m from the same period in 2004 due to demand for armour plating for UK army vehicles. This accounted for nearly all of Reinhold Industries’ uplift of US$6m for the quarter. Carlyle will invest in NP Aerospace through its newly-raised Carlyle Europe Technology Partners fund, which is reportedly targeting about US$200m.

  • East Surrey Holdings is seeking a second extension of an offer deadline following a bid for the company by Terra Firma, the buyout company fronted by entrepreneur Guy Hands. Without the extension, Terra Firma’s £453m bid for the company will lapse. East Surrey said that in conjunction with Hands’ takeover vehicle, Kellen Acquisitions, it is seeking UK court approval on Thursday to extend the bid deadline to November 28 from September 30.