3i completes deals, signs new LPs

The London-listed private equity firm has announced two acquisitions this week, only days after the announcement that it achieved realisations worth £1.15 billion in the 11 months to the end of February.

3i has announced two completed deals and also that it has brought on board 15 new limited partners through the sale of a €200 million stake in its latest fund.

The FTSE 100 private equity firm has announced its first continental buyout of 2005. The firm has acquired German industrial company Wendt, which manufactures precision grinding machines and tools, from global mining company Anglo American in an €86 million ($111 million) MBO.
 
Wendt, which is headquartered in Meerbusch, specialises in providing grinding solutions for steel, glass and hard materials such as tungsten carbide to the automotive, aerospace and cutting tools industries. 3i said in a statement that it was interested in introducing new products and in exploiting growth opportunities in Asia.
 
3i has also increased its stake in UK care home provider Care Principles from 38 percent to 85 percent in a deal worth £90 million.
 
Care Principles, which provides specialist care for adults with learning disabilities, offers 300 beds in secure hospitals. 3i first acquired its stake in the company in 1997 when it backed a £1.5 million MBO from hospitals group General Healthcare.
 
The fragmented UK care home sector has recently seen significant private equity activity. Last December, 3i made a 4x money multiple on its investment in nursing home operator Westminster Healthcare. Earlier this week, Cinven announced its acquisition of Partnerships in Care from BC Partners for a cash price of £552 million. Later this quarter, Doughty Hanson is expected to put the Priory Group on the market.
 
3i also recently announced the sale of a €200 million stake in its €3 billion 2004 European buyout fund to 15 undisclosed LPs who have not invested with the firm before. Paul Waller, an executive director at the firm, said that the move was intended to “broaden the base of investors between fundraisings and develop new relationships for future funds.”
 
He added that the sale had been oversubscribed, putting this down to a combination of a more positive fundraising market than when the fund closed in June 2004, and 3i’s track record. Last week the firm announced that it had made realisations worth £1.15 billion in the 11-month period to the end of February, compared to proceeds of £807 million for the same period a year earlier.