Actis in largest-ever Caribbean buyout

Through its portfolio company Regal Forest, the firm has committed $370m to the leveraged buyout of Courts Plc’s Caribbean shares.

Emerging market-focused private equity firm Actis has made the largest leveraged buyout in the Caribbean through one of its portfolio companies. Regal Forest, a Central American retailer of consumer electronics, appliances and furniture, has acquired the Caribbean assets of Courts Plc, a retailer in the same industry, for approximately $370 million (€281 million).

“This is a landmark transaction in many ways, not only because of the significant size of the deal by regional standards but also the complexity of the transaction,” said Gabriela Culla, an investment manager at Actis who oversees Regal Forest. “The deal includes operations in 12 countries and was financed in seven local currencies in order to reduce currency risk for the buyer.”

Scotia Capital and RBTT, Trinidad provided the senior debt for the transaction. Citigroup financed a junior tier of debt.

Actis invested $12.6 million in Regal Forest in 2000 to help the owners, the Siman family of El Salvador, expand the company internationally, Actis said in a statement. The company now has 210 stores in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, as well as an increasing presence in the Dominican Republic and the US.