Last word

Macquarie is planning to sell its Thames Water Services subsidiary, which treats raw sewage, for between £150m and £200m. UK waste water services Kelda, has already been given access to the books of the subsidiary.

• Leisure group Whitbread could be close to the sale of its David Lloyd health club business, which might fetch some €1.5bn. Finance director Christopher Rogers is reported as saying that the board hopes to make a decision on the business’s fate by its annual meeting on June 19. Interested suitors are thought to include health club businesses Esporta and LA Fitness, as well as property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz, who could team up with LA Fitness owner MidOcean Partners for a joint bid. Real estate specialist London & Regional Properties has also confirmed its interest.

Ceva Sante Animale, a French animal laboratory, has been sold by Nordic buyout firm Industri Kapital to a consortium of investors including Euromezzanine, Natexis Industrie and Natexis Investissement for an undisclosed sum. Industri Kapital acquired the business in a secondary buyout from France’s PAI Partners in mid 2003, beating off competition at the time from Apax Partners, ABN Amro Capital and Astorg Partners. Ceva’s sales in 2007 are estimated to be €340m having experienced 60 percent growth under Industri Kapital’s ownership. As a result, the business has completed six bolt-on acquisitions since 2003, including Biomune in 2005, which has given it a platform on the North American market. Christopher Masek, a partner at Industri Kapital, said that the Ceva had generated an overall return of close to 3.5 and an IRR of over 40 percent, after taking into account a leveraged recapitalisation in March of last year.