3i in Spanish air conditioning MBO

The investment group's sixth management buyout in 2001 was also its biggest at E87m.

3i has led the management buyout of Spanish air conditioning manufacturer Grupo Hictesa for E87m and a 46 per cent stake in the group.

AC Desarrollo, a firm managing funds on behalf of Group Ahorro Corporación also invested, in what was the largest Spanish MBO for 3i of 2001.

Grupo Hictesa comprises two operations – Hispano Técnica del Clima in Barcelona and Newtec Clima in Guadalajara.

The new chief executive of the group is Salvador Cusi, who previously had been managing director of Ultramar Express and exectutive president of German business Lingnotock. He takes over a team made up of old and new executives.

Over the next three years, this management team intends to increase sales and marketing efforts to be able to enter additional markets. In 2001, the group recorded sales of E30m, by 2005 the company expects this figure to double to E60m.

Last year heralded the start of an increase in size and number of mid market LBO transactions in Spain. 3i for example completed six MBOs totalling E170m. These deals included Transcamer, Grupo Pomar, Hictesa, Grupo Dagard and Lynx y Sammic.

Other players also established operations in the region in a bid to capitalise on this increase. One such firm was UK private equity group Duke Street Capital Group, which set up Iberduke Capital Partners in Madrid to focus on mid-range buyouts.

One of the year’s largest deals completed in November when Spain’s Suala Capital Advisers and France’s PAI Management reportedly paid E300, for 50 per cent each in the leading Spanish canning company Mivisa Envases.