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PAI provides Elis exit for BC Partners

The newly independent PAI, (formerly Paribas Affaires Industrielles) has bought Elis from BC Partners in a secondary MBO thought to be worth approximately EURO1.5 billion. Details of the return for BC Partners and the exact deal size have not been disclosed.

BC Partners acquired the company, which supplies work uniforms and linen rental services, in 1997. This deal, with an estimated value of FFr6.1 billion ($1 billion), ended a 100-year period of family ownership. The buyout was refinanced to the tune of EURO1 billion in 2000, with HypoVereinsbank as senior co-arranger.

Elis is headquartered in France but is also present in the UK, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the Czech Republic and the US. Services offered by the company include work uniforms, washroom hygiene, water coolers, dust mats, linen for hotels and restaurants, textile items for healthcare facilities, clean room garments and industrial wiping towels. The company has a 30-year history of steady growth and revenues of around EURO800 million. It employs 11,200 people in Europe serving 250,000 customers.

PAI plans to build on the company’s growth, which has averaged 12 per cent per year for the last three decades. It sees particular opportunities for organic and acquisition-based growth in the southern European markets of Spain and Italy.

JP Morgan advised PAI and Goldman Sachs, which arranged senior debt and mezzanine for the first buyout, acted for BC Partners.