AAC doubles money on exit to Towerbrook

AAC Capital Partners has generated a 2.4x return on ventilation business Volution after finally concluding a protracted sale process with a £163m sale to TowerBrook.

TowerBrook Capital Partners has paid £163 million (€195 million ; $252 million) for UK ventilation and heat recovery business Volution Group, almost a year after talks began between the firm and vendor AAC Capital Partners. 

After TowerBrook's initial offer was rebuffed early last year, the firm stood back while AAC mandated DC Advisory Partners to run an auction, a source close to the process said. Bidders understood to have been involved included 3i Group and Flakt Woods, but offers failed to meet expectations and the process was pulled, according to the source.

TowerBrook, which had maintained contact with the parties concerned, then made a fresh approach, which was accepted, the source added.

The deal marks a full exit for AAC, which made an initial £49 million investment in the company in mid 2006. AAC made a 2.4x return on its investment, according to a statement from the firm. 
DC Advisory Partners, PricewaterhouseCoopers and CMS Cameron McKenna advised AAC on the sale process. Ernst & Young and Weil Gotshal & Manges advised TowerBrook.

Under AAC’s ownership, the business grew revenues in each of the last three years. In the 12 months to July 2011, revenues stood at £95 million, the firm said.

AAC sold one of Volution’s subsidiaries, Cable Management Group, but bolted on Manrose Manufacturing in 2007. It also helped to expand the company’s product range, improved earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation margins, brought in chief executive Ronnie George, and relocated manufacturing operations to the UK from overseas.

Paul Southwell, AAC’s UK-based managing partners, said in a statement: “Volution has been a successful investment for AAC UK and represents an excellent return for our investors in a challenging macro-economic environment.

Working with a first rate management team, led by Kevin Sargeant, we have delivered on our strategy to focus Volution on its core business and to drive  profitable growth both organically and through strategic acquisitions.”