3i completes €100m German jewellery refi

The dividend recap comes after 3i booked a 1.8x return from Foster + Partners

London-listed 3i Group has completed a €103.1 million refinancing for Amor, a German jewellery business, amending and extending its existing debt.

Approximately £21 million cash was returned to 3i’s balance sheet, while the total cash returned to 3i Group was around €46.1 million, according to a statement. The majority of the funds will be used to repay shareholder loans. 3i declined to comment on whether it will take out a dividend.

The transaction received support from a syndicate of banks led by IKB and Commerzbank and was nearly 100 percent oversubscribed, 3i said.

3i acquired a majority stake in Amor in December 2010 when it bought the business from Pamplona Capital Management for £85 million. Since 3i’s investment, the business has increased its EBITDA by more than 30 percent. This improved performance, along with strong cash conversion, has allowed the business to take on further financing, according to 3i. The company has substantially increased sales in North America, the Middle East and Australia since 2010 and would continue its global brand expansion strategy, 3i added.

“We are pleased to note that Amor’s refinancing was significantly oversubscribed, demonstrating the quality of Amor’s credit,” Peter Wirtz, a partner and managing director of 3i Germany, said in the statement.

The refinancing comes in the same week that 3i exited its minority stake in Foster + Partners, a UK-based architectural business. 3i received cash proceeds of £70 million which, together with loan repayments received to date, represents total cash proceeds of £108 million, the group said.

3i will also receive a deferred consideration of £40 million plus interest. This would result in a final money multiple of 1.8x on 3i’s original investment and represents a small premium to the valuation at 31 March 2014, the group said.

Foster + Partners, which was founded by renowned UK architect Lord Foster in 1967, employs approximately 1000 staff across 13 offices globally. The business is known for global landmarks such as The Gherkin in London, the Millau Viaduct in France, the new German Parliament in the Reichstag in Berlin and the Great Court for the British Museum.

3i invested in Foster + Partners in 2007. Under 3i’s investment, the business has almost doubled its sales in the US, which now accounts for 27 percent of billings. It has also tripled its activity in Asia, where billings have grown to 27 percent from 8 percent in 2007, with particularly strong growth coming from China.