3i, the UK-based private equity firm, has backed a E50m management buyout of ‘S‘il vous plait’ (SVP), a telephone consultancy business based in France.
SVP provides consultancy services to 6,500 French clients including local government, accountancy and law firms on issues such as HR law, tax and cultural affairs. The business was set up in 1935 and currently employs 200 people.
“SVP represents just the sort of company in which we are keen to invest in France,” said Richard Campin, who heads 3i’s buyout business in France. “It has a unique market position, good growth prospects and a very strong management team.”
The business reported revenue last year of E44m and EBIT of over ten per cent. SVP is headed by CEO Henri Gagnaire who joined the firm two years ago and has also backed the buyout. Funding for the buyout was provided by 3i and managed funds. The debt syndicate was led by HSBC CCF and BNP.
Campin said the French market is providing opportunities for the firm and that further deals are expected before year end. “Our buyout business in France continues to strengthen and we expect to complete further high quality investments in the next few months.”
3i has invested in more than 400 French companies since setting up in France in 1983. In total, the firm has invested just under E1bn across its offices in Paris, Nantes and Lyon.