Spain’s first secondary MBO provides 3i exit

ABN AMRO Capital has backed a €30m secondary buyout, which it claims is the country’s first, of Spanish life science services group, Labiana. ABN AMRO is acquiring the company from 3i with the group’s general manager, Carlos Sánchez Cañadel, who will own a 33% stake following the transaction.

Labiana Life Science Services, which is one of Europe’s leading contract services companies for the pharmaceutical and animal health industries, was founded in 1958 and was acquired by the international group BASF in 1980. The management took a majority stake (51%) in the company in 1999 via an MBO backed by VC firm 3i. After the buyout the company became a supplier of industrial outsourcing services, developing and manufacturing medicines for third parties. It serves the major market segments of the life science industries; human and animal health, health cosmetics and health food, which require high quality standards to assure bio-security in all products and processes. In 2002 Labiana acquired a new pharmaceutical plant in Cataluna, where the company is based, with a state-of-the-art manufacturing site for human drugs. This provided the opportunity for the company to separate its human health activities from its other life science businesses. Revenues for 2003 were over €26m.

ABN AMRO’s acquisition of the company is financed by Rabobank, and Alta Partners provided M&A advisory services. Labiana will now develop an ambitious growth plan, reinforcing the quality and capacity of its client services.

This is ABN AMRO Capital’s third investment in Spain since establishing a presence there in 2001. The firm invested €56m in cleaning services group UNICA in 2001 and last year committed €25m to the MBO of plastic container manufacturer, Silita.