LBO financial sponsor of the year Winner: Civen

Cinven wins the 2001 award for LBO financial sponsor of the year on the joint basis of the investments it made and the investments it realised. On the money deployed side Kappa Packaging bought the corrugated and containerboard operations of AssiDoman for EURO1.1 billion in March 2001, in May it bought the photo finishing businesses of Grand Vision SA, a leading European optical and photo services retailer headquartered in Paris. This acquisition was valued at EURO282 million. Then in October Cinven acquired the worldwide metallurgical chemicals and releasants chemicals operations of Burmah Castrol, a wholly owned subsidiary of BP for EURO326 million.

On the money returned to investors side Cinven significantly cleaned up its portfolio in what was universally acknowledged as a testing year for achieving exits. It sold the Isle of Wight ferry company, Wightlink to Royal Bank of Scotland’s Debt Ventures team and management a secondary buyout also supported by RBS Mezzanine returning just under three times money on a 1995 investment that was refinanced by a Barclays Capital-led securitisation in 1999. Another exit presumed to be giving Cinven exit headaches was the IPC investment, made in January 1998 and eventually exited via a sale to AOL Time Warner Inc last summer. The exit price was GBP1.15 billion and the business had originally been acquired for GBP860 million and had been added to in September 1998 with the GBP25 million acquisition of Link House Magazines. Cinven also effected a secondary buyout of its interest in Ridgemont Homes, a start up resulting from when it backed Roger Storey in 1995. Finally, there was the flotation of Generale de Sante, the provider of private hospital healthcare services, on the French stock exchange in June last year. This bought to an end Cinven’s interests in the hospital and healthcare businesses of Companie Generale des Eaux that it acquired in July 1997. This was made up of two business, Generale de Sante and General Healthcare Group UK, the latter having already been sold to BC Partners.