ABN AMRO in €270m De Dietrich disposal

In its fourth French exit of the year, ABN AMRO Capital has sold the remaining division of the De Dietrich chemical group to the De Dietrich family for €270m.

The French arm of ABN AMRO Capital has completed its final divestment of the De Dietrich group, which it acquired for €520 million ($670 million) in one of the largest take-privates on the French stock exchange in 2000.

The sale of De Dietrich to the De Dietrich family for an undisclosed sum provides a full exit for ABN AMRO Capital. A source close to the transaction confirmed that the sale price was around €270 million.

The firm sold the company’s railway division in 2002 and the heating division, De Dietrich Thermique, to Netherlands heating company Remeha in July this year.

De Dietrich supplies process installation and equipment for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. The company employs 1300 people and had a turnover of €160 million in 2003.

Herve Claquin, head of ABN AMRO Capital in France, confirmed that 145 members of the De Dietrich family were involved in the transaction. 'We were approached by trade buyers from Germany and the USA but, although it was very complicated legally speaking, we preferred the family option', said Claquin. ABN AMRO Capital was advised by the French office of Latham & Watkins.

The transaction represents ABN AMRO Capital’s fourth exit in France this year, following the disposal of De Dietrich Thermique, the sale of power installation company MGE UPS to the Schneider Group in February and the sale of plastic components company AFE to Sagard, the French-Canadian private equity fund in April.

The firm has also completed four investments in the region in 2004, most recently acquiring Paris-headquartered catering company Score Groupe in a €100 million buyout.

According to figures from ABN AMRO Capital for the year to date, the firm has completed 11 buyouts, investing an average of €293 million per transaction and completed 11 exits in the same period.