Mid-market in brief

  • Whittan Storage, the UK-based shelf manufacturer, has been acquired by buyout fund Stirling Square Capital Partners for £90m (US$107m).

The private equity firm Permira sold the business that it had acquired in 2002 for £73m. Stirling Square Capital Partners is managed by Stefano Bonfiglio, Martin Calderbank, Stuyvesant Comfort, Jakob Förschner, Gregorio Napoleone and Bolaji OdunsiStirling Square has financial backing from Citigroup.

To date, it has raised €250m with Citigroup as the cornerstone investor. Because of its relationship with Citigroup, SSCP can pursue considerably larger investments than normal for a fund of €250m. The group usually targets investments in the €50-500m range.

  • UK-based Inflexion Private Equity has led the £22m (US$39.1m) management buyout of Viking Moorings, a service provider for the offshore oil and gas industry. Funds managed by Inflexion have invested £9m, taking a majority equity shareholding, while management also invested in the equity. Royal Bank of Scotland provided the banking facilities.

Established 20 years ago, Viking Moorings employs 60 staff from its UK and Norwegian bases. The company supplies the offshore oil and gas industry with taut fibre rope and vertical load anchor moorings solutions for deep water drilling rigs and for drilling in congested seabed areas.

  • Buyout firm Carlyle has agreed to acquire IMO Car Wash from JPMorgan Partners in a tertiary buyout. Financial details were not disclosed. JPMorgan Partners bought the company from the UK-based private equity firm Bridgepoint for £350m (US$615m) in January 2004.

Interestingly, Andrew Burgess, formerly a director at Bridgepoint, joined Carlyle last year as a managing director in its London office. Burgess, who led the deal for Carlyle had also been involved in the initial acquisition of IMO Car Wash, when it was bought by Bridgepoint in 1999 for £110m (US$194m).

  • Belgian private equity group GIMV says talks with regard to the acquisition of a Nordic rival have been discontinued. GIMV made the comment in response to a report in Belgium’s De Standaard daily saying the company was close to signing a €250m deal to buy Finland’s CapMan.

According to GIMV it continues to believe that a strategic European expansion will be value enhancing for all its shareholders, but will reconsider its position if a lack of targets makes this impossible.

In a statement GIMV appeared to confirm that it had sought a CapMan tie- up, saying it, “has investigated a unique strategic opportunity to obtain overnight a leading position in Scandinavia.” According to GIMV the investigation lead to preliminary discussions, however these did not lead to any agreement and have since been discontinued. The group however is still actively seeking strategic acquisitions.