3i scores 2x on Trescal

The UK firm has sold the €250m French calibration business to AXA Private Equity, the latest of a spate of exits it has achieved since the beginning of the year.

London-listed 3i has exited Trescal, a provider of calibration services, to AXA Private Equity

Still subject to regulatory clearance, the deal values the company at around €250 million. It will allow 3i, which owned 64 percent of the company, to reap a 2x return on its original investment. It will also provide an exit to French minority investor TCR Capital

AXA is to own 82 percent of Trescal upon completion of the deal, which will see the company’s current management and employees retain an 18 percent stake. The deal will bring £61 million (€71 million, $96 million) in cash proceeds to 3i, a 19 percent rise on the £51 million value booked for the investment on 31 March 2013.

Headquartered in Paris, Trescal provides calibration, repair and maintenance services of measurement equipment for industrial clients. It operates across 150 locations in 16 countries, and counts more than 1,500 employees. 

3i and TCR Capital originally invested in the company in 2010, and have since strived to grow the business through a number of add-on acquisitions. These have included US-based Dynamic Technology, bought immediately following the firm’s investment in the company, as well as Antech Engineering in the UK, Stork Intermes in the Netherlands and Isocal in Austria. As a result of this phase of international expansion, the group’s sales have jumped from €110 million in 2010 to €157 million in 2012. 

Trescal is the latest of a series of exits completed this year by the firm, in a bid strengthen its balance sheet and return cash to investors. These have included Xellia Pharmaceuticals, HTC Sweden and Civica, all sold in March; it also divested Hyperion, Giraffe, Mold-Masters, Norma Group and Enterprise earlier this year. 

3i went through a sustained restructuration phase during its last financial year, cutting more than £50 million in costs and reducing debt by 44 percent over the period. The firm, which currently invests from its balance sheet, does not intend to raise a fund in the coming years, a source close to the company recently told Private Equity International.