ABN AMRO Capital backing Finnish buyout

The French unit of ABN AMRO Capital has joined forces with Viellard Migeon to acquire Finnish fishing business Rapala VMC.

ABN AMRO Capital France, the Paris-based private equity unit of the Dutch bank, is to join forces with French fishing products manufacturer Viellard Migeon & Cie to bid for Rapala VMC, a Finnish manufacturer and distributor of fishing equipment.


In a statement to the Helsinki stock exchange yesterday, Rapala confirmed that ‘certain principal shareholders’ are in exclusive negotiations with ABN AMRO Capital France, the private equity division’s French unit and Viellard Migeon about an offer for the company at around E4.70 per share.


The offer would equate to a premium of around 20 per cent to the Rapala share price over the past six months, which has hovered around the E3.80 mark. Following reports of a possible offer earlier this week, the Rapala share price climbed to E5.25, only to fall back after details of the offer were announced.


The offer values the company’s equity at around E175m. At the end of July 2002, the company had net borrowings of E97m, giving the company a total value of around E275m.


ABN AMRO Capital France says it invests in buyout deals across all sectors. Although quiet in 2002, the division was one of France’s most active LBO players in 2001, investing approximately E100m in five companies.  


Rapala VMC Corporation is a major manufacturer and distributor of fishing products with sales across the US and Europe. It has manufacturing facilities in Finland, France, Ireland, Mexico and Estonia. Rapala reported sales last year of E172m and employs 3000 people across 18 countries. Net sales and EBITDA have increased at an average annual rate of 19.8 per cent and 13.5 per cent respectively since 1999.