Middle markets

Global private equity firm Advent International has acquired Gruppo Argenta, an Italian vending machine operator. Advent will hold a 65% stake in the company. PM & Partners, an Italian private equity firm, will acquire a minority stake alongside the firm, with management holding the remaining stake. This is the second Italian investment made by Advent in nine months and follows the acquisition in September 2004 of AVIP, Italy’s largest independent outdoor advertising group.

  • Reiten & Co Capital Partners VI entered into an agreement to purchase a 67% majority interest in Euroskilt, a traffic safety products company with operations mainly in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Poland. The founders will continue as minority shareholders. The circa €12m investment has been structured as a purchase and share issue with warrants to enable the company to fund both add-on acquisitions and organic growth. After having been shareholders in Euroskilt since 1998, DnB NOR Bank ASA and Four Seasons Venture IV are the main sellers of shares in the transaction.
  • Swedish buyout house Segulah acquired Skanska Prefab Mark from Swedish construction giant for SKr336m (US$43m). The company manufactures and sells prefabricated products in concrete for sewerage, drainage and paving. In 2004, it generated SKr400m in revenues and more than SKr50m in earnings. The sale is part of Skanska’s strategic focus on its core operations – construction, project development of commercial premises and residential project development. “Skanska Prefab Mark is a stable business with substantial potential for further development through organic growth and acquisitions”, said Christian Sievert, managing partner, Segulah.
  • National Semiconductor Corporation, a US-listed analog electronics company, has closed the sale of its Dutch cordless business unit to HgCapital, a UK-based buyout firm, for a reported US$100m. HgCapital, in its third purchase in the country, will rebrand the Dutch business SiTel Semiconductor.
  • Dunedin Capital Partners, the UK mid-market private equity house, has backed the £27m management buyout of Zenith Vehicle Contracts. Dunedin provided an £11m funding package of equity and mezzanine, with the company’s existing bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, providing a senior debt and working capital facility. Zenith is a niche provider of bespoke fleet management services, normally to companies with car fleets of 250 to 1,500 cars. It has achieved new customer gains and customer retention against a background of an increasing legislative burden on employers.