Last word

Private equity bidders CVC Capital Partners, Nordic Capital, PAI, Permira and 3i have been shortlisted in the circa €800m auction for CSM’s sugar confectionery business. ABN AMRO is the financial adviser to CSM. Final bids have to be in by December 8 and CSM expects to make an announcement by year-end. Bankers expect debt to be between €500m and €600m. Once the sale is complete, CSM will focus on its business-to-business activities in baking products and food ingredients.

Melrose, the cash shell planning a hostile bid for Novar, posted a £744m offer to shareholders this week. As part of a defence strategy, Novar is considering a break-up of the company. It has had other expressions of interest for some or all of its divisions. General Electric is touted as a potential suitor. Melrose has conditionally placed new stock worth £232m to finance the acquisition. Its directors are led by Christopher Miller, who built up and then sold the Wassall conglomerate. Previously, Novar rejected the expected approach as too low, labelling it unappealing in terms of price and structure

Andrew Mainwaring has joined Inflexion Private Equity as an assistant director. He joins from Catalyst Fund Management and Research, where he specialised in private equity investment, especially in the financial services segment. In September, Inflexion opened an office in Manchester as part of its plan to increase its business in Northern England. The firm invests in buyouts and growth capital transactions.

Carlyle is close to acquiring an 80% stake in Xuzhou Construction Machinery in a Chinese leveraged buyout. The cost of the transaction is estimated at around €500m and would rank as the first Chinese buyout by a foreign buyout house. Previously, buyout firms have taken only minority stakes in Chinese companies. Xuzhou is on course to notch up sales of around US$3bn this year.

Assets that have come on to the block recently include Focus Wickes, the UK DIY retailer owned by Duke St and Apax. Apax bought a third of the company in 2002 to provide Duke St with a partial exit. UBS Capital has also put shoe repair and key cutting chain Mister Minit up for sale at between €100m and €200m.