Alcedo sells Italian company to Apax-backed Rhiag

The sale of Era – the firm’s third exit from Alcedo III – repays nearly 100% of the fund’s called-up capital

Italian mid-market growth investor Alcedo, along with minority shareholders, has sold Era, a major Italian distributor of electrical and electronic parts for the automotive aftermarket, to the Rhiag Group for €32 million.

Alcedo initially invested €10 million in June 2012 to acquire a 68 percent stake in the business. The sale generated Alcedo an internal rate of return of more than 40 percent, according to a statement from the firm.

Alcedo did not respond to a request for comment at press time.

The Rhiag Group, backed by Apax Partners, is a distributor of branded automotive spare parts to the independent aftermarket in Italy and Central and Eastern Europe. Apax acquired Rhiag in 2013, paying around €575 million for the company, according to media reports at the time. Headquartered in Italy, Rhiag has a turnover of €800 million, according to Alcedo.

Era has a commercial presence in 90 countries, its main markets being in Russia, Germany, UK and Spain. Sixty percent of the company’s revenues – which grew by 18 percent under Alcedo’s leadership from €33 million in 2011 to €39 million in 2013 – comes from outside Italy, with a roughly even split between Europe and outside of Europe.

Between 2011 and 2013 EBITDA increased from €5.1 million to €6.3 million. The product portfolio also expanded from around 8,000 to around 11,000, with the customer base growing from 1,400 to 1,800. The company also invested in staff across all levels in line with the expansion of the business, Alcedo said.

“We have achieved the objective that we had set ourselves in terms of entering new markets, expansion of the product range, and strengthening of the workforce to support the development of business,” Alcedo CEO and founding partner Maurizio Masetti said in the statement.

Alcedo invested in Era from Alcedo III, a €173 million vehicle which closed in late 2008. The fund has invested in 10 businesses to date, three of which it has now exited. The three divestments combined have repaid almost 100 percent of the called-up capital to date, generating a realised multiple of 4x and an internal rate of return of 53 percent.

Alcedo III is the firm’s first fund raised as an independent private equity firm. Alcedo was founded by Masetti, Giovanni Gajo and Maurizio Tiveron – who were originally founder members of the Benetton family’s private equity firm, 21 Investimenti, alongside Alessandro Benetton – in 2000 as the captive private equity operation of banking group Banca Cardine. Its first two funds, Cardine Impressa and Eptasviluppo, were raised and invested on behalf of the bank and its clients. The three founders spun the firm out in 2005.