Sagard and Arcapita in €500m secondary deal

Bahrain-headquartered investment firm Arcapita Bank is to acquire Compagnie Européenne de Prestations Logistiques (CEPL), a warehouse logistics service provider, from buyouts house Sagard and the current management.

Although the value of the transaction has yet to be disclosed, Arcapita has claimed it is the largest LBO in France of 2008 to date, but reports suggest the deal is worth more than €500m. This places it below the €2bn Converteam buyout, which saw LBO France acquire a third of the company, and existing investor Barclays Private Equity retaining another third, and the management taking the remainder. The only other €500m plus French deal was the €520m acquisition of BUT International, the furniture and electricals business, by Decomeubles Partners, a joint venture between Colony Capital, Goldman Sachs and Merchant Equity Partners.

CEPL is headquartered in Béville le Comte, France, operates across 23 sites in France and Germany and has approximately 2,200 employees. The current management team led by Thierry Ortmans, CEO and founder, and Akim Lamrani, COO will continue in their current roles and have increased their equity investment in the business.

Mounzer Nasr, head of Arcapita’s European corporate investments said: “This is one of the few transactions of its size in Europe to have secured LBO financing in these difficult market conditions. Arcapita currently owns more than 5 million square meters of industrial warehouse facilities globally, and the acquisition of CEPL has the potential for significant synergies with our existing portfolio and logistics investments.”

Arcapita’s portfolio of industrial warehouses is one the largest in Europe, and it has recently added Pinnacle, a Central and Eastern European industrial warehouse developer and operator.

Paris-based mid market firm Sagard acquired its stake in CEPL in February 2005 for an undisclosed sum. It was part of the portfolio of Sagard’s first fund, which closed in December 2003 on €600m. It was fully invested as of July 2006, and still has seven active deals. Including CEPL, the fund has realised five investments.