LBO House of the Year

Winner: CVC Capital Partners

Highly commended: Legal & General Ventures

Highly commended: Cinven

Choosing an LBO house of the year was a particularly hard task given that a 60:40 weighting was decided upon in favour of monies invested. There are few houses that have not received the consideration of an exit at least in part in shares and given current stock market volatility it is hard to tell how good the financial returns of some of these investments will be.

CVC Capital Partners wins evcj’s LBO house of the year award for 2000. The firm saw considerable monies going into investments. These included the £245 million buyout of the Brussels-based automotive sealing systems business of Invensys plc of the UK. Collins Stewart, the stockbroking unit of Singer & Friedlander was bought for £122 million in May but by October CVC had floated the business on the London Stock Exchange at an issue price of 316 pence per share. The price quickly moved up but given recent market batterings has dropped to 310 pence per share. Monies in also included the buyout of the Italian protective footwear company Almar Group and $325 million for the worldwide professional product unit of Revlon.

Exits were achieved for Collins Stewart, as mentioned earlier, and on 1993 buyout of Hydron Ltd, a UK-based contact lens manufacturer. Hydron was sold to Biocompatibles. Also, CVC exited the 1994 buyout of Spanish General Optica via a sale to Italy’s De Rigo and the 1996 buyout of Building & Property Management Services was sold to Tilbury Douglas.

Legal & General Ventures is highly commended in this category. Legal & General Ventures faced a difficult year in 2000 having lost half its team the previous year it was faced with rebuilding that team, which it duly did, and conducting business as usual. This it did exiting five investments, three equity and two mezzanine. And on the investment side it got involved in the buyout of UK caravan and leisure park operator, Bourne Leisure Group. Also in the UK it invested in Hayley Conference Centres and in France it supported the management buyout of Financiere MGE, a provider of uninterruptible power supplies.

Also highly commended in this category is Cinven. Cinven managed five investments starting the year with a co-investment with PAI Management in Frans Bonhomme and an investment in Odeon. In April it again joined forces with PAI Management on the United Biscuits deal. Investments in Helix (Wolseley) and the McKechnie public to private deal followed. Cinven made notable exits from its investments in McCarthy Group, COMAX and General Healthcare, via a secondary buyout.