It was another strong year for ICG, winner for the second year in a row of an EVCJ Mezzanine Debt Provider of the Year award. Closing a US$100m Asia-focused fund in October, double the size of its predecessor, capped a successful 12 months for the group in what was a difficult year for those operating in the mezzanine space.
ICG has positioned itself well to weather the storm of the last six months by adopting a strategy since its founding in 1989 of avoiding investment in cyclical industries, barring the occasional opportunity. The firm has long had reservations about the highly leveraged economies of the UK, Spain, Ireland and Denmark and has gradually reduced its exposure to these countries or focused on defensive industries there.
As with everyone else in the private equity universe, deal flow has dramatically fallen, but ICG has been involved with some of the most high-profile deals of the year. In April, it invested £100m of mezzanine and £25m of equity into UK waste management company Biffa. In June 2008, it invested €30m of mezzanine to support the secondary buyout of German care home operator Casa Reha. The following month it provided mezzanine facilities to assist the buyout of private clinical and routine laboratories business Labco of France. ICG also invested €60m in Löwen Play, a German gaming arcade operator when the company was acquired by AXA Private Equity, and arranged and provided a mezzanine facility of €35m to support the secondary buyout of Sicurglobal, an Italian security services company.
ICG has also been busy team-building. It expanded investment teams in the Netherlands, Germany and France and strengthened its investor relations team. In total, it expanded by 14 professionals to a 147 strong team of which almost half are dedicated to mezzanine investments.
GS Mezzanine Partners