Schroder Ventures Buys Pharma Packaging Businesses

Schroder Ventures in late November bought out Betts, a group of three pharmaceutical and oral care packaging businesses, from Akzo Nobel in a GBP103 million (ecu 146 million) deal. Betts was Schroder Ventures’ third acquisition in the European healthcare sector in 12 months, following the purchases of Sirona Dental Systems and Leica Microsystems.

Betts is the world’s leading manufacturer of asthma inhalers with a 25% market share. The company also manufactures toothpaste and pharmaceutical tubes and other speciality packaging for dental, food, toiletry, cleaning and medical products. Betts, which is headquartered in the UK and also operates manufacturing plants in the US, Poland, India, Indonesia and China, has annual sales of GBP94 million. Major customers include Colgate, Unilever, SmithKline Beecham, Boots, Glaxo Wellcome and 3M.

Schroder Ventures paid GBP82 million on a debt-free basis for the company and incorporated some GBP20 million of expansion capital into the funding structure.

The Royal Bank of Scotland provided mezzanine and senior debt facilities.

Schroders Ventures invested alongside the seven-strong incumbent senior management team, led by CEO Paul Mines. Charles Sherwood, a partner at Schroder Ventures, said “Betts has all the qualities we look for in an investment: an international business with strong market positions, long-standing customer relationships and significant potential for growth”. Paul Mines added that Betts has opportunities to expand its business both geographically and into new applications.