Last word

  • JP Morgan’s buyout arm has agreed its first investment in Africa by paying R5.4bn (US$897.5m) for Waco International, a scaffolding and building services company with operations in Australasia, South Africa and the UK. The management buyout of Waco was arranged by CCMP Capital Asia, which was formerly known as JP Morgan Partners Asia and has US$2.7bn under management. It is the largest-ever private equity deal in South Africa and Australia. The deal provides an exit for South Africa-based buyout firm Ethos Private Equity, which bought and delisted Waco for R2.4bn in 2000 from major shareholder Trencor after two years of work on the deal.
  • Carlyle could plan to halve its near-one third stake in QinetiQ, a UK defence research company, under its planned flotation.

Carlyle paid a reported £42.4m for a 34% stake in QinetiQ in 2002, which has since been cut back to 31%. In the proposed £1.1bn IPO led by Credit Suisse, JPMorgan Cazenove and Merrill Lynch, this stake could be worth £340m.

QinetiQ is majority owned by the Ministry of Defence, although it is held within the Shareholder Executive, which is based at the Department of Trade of Industry and run by Richard Gillingwater, a former vice-chairman of CSFB.

  • Graphite Capital, the mid-market private equity specialist, is backing the £130m management buy-in/buy-out of Cinque Ports Leisure, the UK’s third largest holiday home and caravan park group. The business was co-founded 20 years ago by Jim Watson, who is now retiring, and Peter Bull, who will remain as a director working closely with the new team and spearheading the group’s acquisition programme.

The incoming management team will be led by new chief executive Jeff Sills, who was previously chief executive of the Tom Cobleigh and Landmark public house chains. Tony Clish, a director of Great British Holiday Parks until its successful sale, will become commercial director. The new chairman is Michael Jolly, former chief executive officer and chairman of Madame Tussauds.