last word

Graphite Capital, a UK mid-market private equity firm which raised £475m in May for its seventh fund, has sold Golden Tulip, a budget hotels group, to Whitbread for £44m (€62.7m). Golden Tulip manages five three-star Tulip Inn hotels and one four-star Golden Tulip hotel in the UK with a total of 770 rooms. The group is in the planning stage for nine more hotels, accommodating more than 1,300 rooms, scheduled to open within the next two years. Graphite originally led the investment to establish the business in August 2002. Last year, Golden Tulip had turnover of £15.2m with the hotels contributing earnings of £2.3m. Whitbread plans to convert the six Golden Tulip hotels to its Premier Inn brand by year-end. Andy Gray, Jenny Michelman, Perry Chapman and Simon ffitch managed the transaction for Graphite. The sale provides Graphite with a total return of three times its investment. Golden Tulip chief executive, Peter Roberts, commented: “With Graphite’s support, we have created a portfolio of profitable hotels catering for the growing ‘value-for-money’ conscious business and leisure traveller. Whitbread’s considerable experience in this sector of the hotel market will ensure our business goes from strength to strength as part of its highly successful Premier Inn group.”

HgCapital, has agreed to acquire Fabory, formerly known as Borslap, a Dutch distributor of industrial fasteners, from AAC Capital Partners for €345m. Fabory distributes bolts, nuts, screws, pins and nails, as well as chemical fasteners and power tools, in the Benelux region. The company has operations in France, Central and Eastern Europe, Germany, North America and China. In a statement, HgCapital said it plans to support the company’s management team as the business expands in Central and Eastern Europe. Financing for the transaction was provided by Bank of Scotland. AAC Capital Partners is a recent spin out from ABN AMRO Capital (see firms and funds section) – acquired Fabory to gether with senior management in December 2004 in a MBO from the founders. Alfons van der Aa, chief executive of Fabory, says: “AAC Capital Partners helped us in streamlining the business and re-positioning the company with a highly scalable and successful B2B retail concept. We are looking forward to taking the business to the next level with the support of HgCapital.”