ABN Amro buys Dennis Eagle

ABN Amro Capital has backed a £51m secondary buyout of the UK refuse collection vehicle manufacturer Dennis Eagle from Bridgepoint Capital.

ABN Amro Capital, the private equity business of ABN AMRO, has led a secondary buyout of UK-based manufacturer Dennis Eagle from fellow mid-market buyout firm Bridgepoint Capital in a deal worth £51m (€73 million; $94 million).

The deal, which was completed before Christmas but only announced on Monday, came about after Bridgepoint Capital contacted a small group of potential bidders for the business, comprising a mixture of trade and financial buyers.


ABN Amro Capital invested £22.6m in the business, while Royal Bank of Scotland provided £32.5m of senior debt and working capital facilities. Including costs and working capital facilities, the total deal size is £61.5m. 


Dennis Eagle is a designer and manufacturer of refuse collection vehicles and also manufactures fire engine cabs under a long-term agreement with Transbus International. The company has 580 employees in factories in Warwick and Blackpool. In addition to its manufacturing operations, Dennis Eagle runs a parts and service after-market business from a number of service centres across the UK. The company also has a distribution subsidiary in France, with 12 percent of the company’s £90 million turnover is currently outside in the UK.


Bridgepoint Capital acquired the business in July 1999. The firm did not disclose any financial details, but reported what it described as “a satisfactory return” on its original investment.


In a statement, ABN Amro said the future growth of the business would be based around continued expansion in the UK and building on current expansion in export markets such as Ireland, Germany and France. “Dennis Eagle is a market leading brand with a premium product and under its current management the business has been successfully re-focused,” said Ian Taylor, chief executive of ABN Amro Capital.


ABN Amro Capital also announced that in 2003, including Dennis Eagle, it had completed transactions with a total enterprise value of €1.4 billion. The group invested in 14 companies in seven European countries. Recent transactions include the acquisition of Gardner Aerospace (£21.5 million) and the secondary buyout of Labiana, a Spanish pharmaceutical services business for €30 million.


The Dennis Eagle transaction sees both ABN Amro Capital and Bridgepoint continue their strong levels of deal activity into the New Year. Last week, Bridgepoint announced the sale of UK carwash business IMO Group to JP Morgan Partners for £350 million, adding to the steady stream of exits in 2003, which saw the firm realise investments in twelve businesses.