MBI for European Ignition Products

Reckitt Benckiser has sold its ignition products business, which includes the firelighter brand Zip, for GBP29 million. The new company, which has sales in the UK, France, Belgium and Germany, will be based in Ireland and called Standard Brands (Ireland) Limited. Graphite Capital (previously F&C Ventures – see private equity news this issue) funded the transaction with Heller Financial providing debt and KPMG advising Reckitt Benckiser.

David Bizat who will lead the Standard Brands management team brought the deal to Graphite Capital. David Bizat has 21 years experience working as a management consultant for Unilever’s chemical, personal products and detergent businesses.

Chris Cottam will be responsible for an aggressive marketing strategy to increase sales in Europe particularly targeting Germany, Belgium and Switzerland. The management team so far only Bizat and Cottam’s names have been announced will focus on strengthening the position of the business and expanding the range of products and geographical markets.

David Bizat, managing director of Standard Brands, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to extract some market leading brands from a broad portfolio and drive their growth through innovation and focus.”

Reckitt Benckiser, an Anglo-Dutch household cleaning company, was formed in December 1999 by the merger of Reckitt & Colman plc and Benckiser NV. Following the merger the company announced that it would be disposing of non-core businesses to focus on categories and brands including food (French’s mustard) health and personal care (Lemsip and Immac) and household cleaning products (Dettol, Vanish, Haze and Finish). A number of sales have been completed since 1999 including minor personal care and household brands in Australasia and Europe. The sale of this business brings the total proceeds from cumulative disposals so far to over GBP130 million. The company has also recently announced acquisitions in Indonesia (Tiga Roda) and in Korea (Oxy).

Graphite Capital has funded 12 private equity transactions, mainly MBO’s and MBI’s, from its GBP260 million fund that closed in August 1999.