News in brief

  • Continental, the listed German tyre manufacturer, has sold Stankiewicz to the Gilde Buy-Out Fund. Stankiewicz belonged to the ContiTech division of Continental and was taken over by Continental as a part of Phoenix in 2004.

Stankiewicz is based in Adelheidsdorf near Hanover and produces sound insulation systems for reducing external and internal noise on cars and commercial vehicles. The company has a workforce of approximately 2,100 employees worldwide and posted sales of €270m last year.

“ContiTech is reorienting its core business activities, which is why we decided to sell Stankiewicz,” says Gerhard Lerch, chairman of ContiTech’s executive board.

Ralph Wyss, managing director of Gilde’s office in Zurich, where the transaction was managed, said that the purchase was an important step in the expansion of Gilde’s activities in the automotive sector.

The sale is also subject to approval by the appropriate antitrust authorities and the supervisory board of Phoenix.

  • Indian pharmaceutical company Dr Reddy’s is reportedly one of the last in a handful of buyers in the estimated US$550m auction for 3i-owned Betapharm.

According to a deal source, there are only a handful of bidders left in the auction. This list reportedly includes Indian generic drugs manufacturer Dr Reddy after it launched a €466m (US$562.2m) takeover offer for Betapharm, according to Indian newspaper Business Standard.

Indian company interest in Betapharm is not unexpected as the country has a number of fast growing and acquisition-hungry medical companies, including Wockhardt and Ranbaxy, which have been involved in generic drug makers Temmier Pharma and Alpharma, for example.

3i acquired its stake in the German generic drugs manufacturer when it backed a management buyout valued at €300m in 2004.

The vendors were Andreas and Thomas Strüngmann, who also founded Hexal, the generic drugs business sold to Switzerland’s Novartis for €4.35bn in 2005.

3i started the auction of Betapharm in November and it is being run by Sal Oppenheim, which advised 3i on its 2004 purchase of the portfolio company, and Bear Stearns.

  • UK buyout firms 3i and Montagu have admitted defeat on their UK-based tea bag-making portfolio company JR Crompton and called in accountants Deloittes as administrator to carry out a sale.

3i and Montagu (then known as HSBC Private Equity) paid about £100m (US$175m) for JR Crompton in 2000 and had hoped to expand the manufacturer of tea and coffee papers into making sausage skins.

Deloitte has said there has been strong interest in the company already. Rivals include Schoeller & Hoesch.

All the firms involved declined to comment.