Mid-market in brief

  • Granville Baird Capital Partners, the European mid-market private equity firm, has realised its investment in Ultralase, a leading chain of UK corrective eye laser clinics. Corporacion Dermoestetica, the Spanish cosmetic surgery group, has acquired the business for £30m (US$55m). The exit price will result in a 3.8x return on Granville Baird Capital Partners’ investment in Ultralase.

Granville Baird Capital Partners has invested a total of £5.5m in Ultralase since backing the management buyout in January 2000, when the company was acquired from private shareholders for a net £4m. Since then, revenues have increased 10-fold and the number of clinics has risen from two to 12 across the UK.

  • Montagu Private Equity, which specialises in European management buyouts in the €70m to €700m range, is raising a new €2bn buyout fund. This follows on from its last outing, which also saw the firm raise €2bn, that time for a 2001 vintage fund.
  • IFE Conseil, the French mezzanine provider, is launching its second mezzanine fund with a target of €300m. IFE II will focus on mid-cap mezzanine finance in France and Continental Europe, and will be incorporated in Luxembourg as a SICAR. An initial closing is expected in the summer on €200m, with a final close expected before year-end.

CDC Enterprises, which invested 19% in IFE I, has made a commitment of 25% to the latest fund.

  • CDC Entreprises Equity Capital, the French private equity firm, has closed CDC Entreprises III, a €300m domestic fund. Investors include parent company CDC Entreprises, Caisse Nationale des Caisses d’Epargne, CNP Assurances, and Ecureuil VIE.

The fund will look to invest in companies with an enterprise value of between €75m and €300m. It aims to back between six and 10 companies over the next three to four years with investments of €15m to €60m.

  • Enterprise Private Equity, the newly formed private equity division of corporate finance boutique Enterprise Group, has announced the appointment of Gordon Power, the founder and former chairman of Proven Private Equity, as chairman.

Power has more than 20 years’ experience in the private equity sector, having been a founder of Proven Private Equity, where he became chief executive in 1987 and led an MBO of the business in 1998. In 2002, he sold Proven to Beringea, an international private equity and investment banking firm. Power has remained heavily involved in the private equity sector and sits on the boards of a number of private equity and private equity-backed businesses.

Enterprise Private Equity is a new private equity fund manager focusing on SMEs in the UK and worldwide.