Apax deploys highest amount of capital since buyout boom

Apax Partners realised €2 billion last year, and deployed the second-highest amount in its history, according to its annual report which will be released next week.

Apax Partners made seven investments last year and deployed €2.7 billion in capital, according to the firm’s annual report, seen by Private Equity International ahead of its publication next week.

That figure is the second highest amount in its history, only narrowly eclipsed by the €2.9 billion it put to work at the height of the buyout boom in 2007. It trumps the €2.2 billion invested in 2010 and the €2 billion in 2008. In total, it has deployed €10.3billion over the last five years, and realised €9.8 billion.

Its performance has also been strong, delivering a 2.8x return on its buyouts since 1993. Net IRR over five years was 10.7 percent, raising to 17.4 percent over 10 years, 19.1 percent over 15, and 29.2 percent over 20 years.

Chief executive Martin Halusa explained why 2011 proved to be a good year for dealmaking: “Falling company valuations and the continued availability of debt finance provided a strong environment for new investments enabling us to invest at our predicted rate during 2011. Our funds have invested in these companies because we think they are excellent businesses with the potential to expand their operations significantly during the four to five years investment period.”

The investments were: automotive classified advertising business Trader Canada, software group Epicor, wound care company KCI, fashion retailer Takko, mobile group Orange Switzerland, outsourcing company iGATE, and restaurant change Golden Jaguar.

Exits last year included share sales in Tnuva, Capio, Bankrate, Weather Investments and Trader Media, with realisations totalling €2 billion.

The firm has an increasingly global portfolio, with 57 percent of its investments in Europe, 35 percent in North America, and 7 percent elsewhere. Four of the seven businesses acquired last year were based in the US or Canada.

Apax has also moved to delever its portfolio, reducing debt by 8.3 percent over the course of 2011, and bringing overall portfolio leverage down to 4.2x earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation. Total portfolio EBITDA grew by 4.1 percent in 2011, according to the report.

The firm is in the process of raising its latest buyout vehicle and held a first close for Apax VIII on €4.3 billion in March as it targets €9 billion. The firm declined to comment on the fundraising.

The July issue of Private Equity International will feature a Privately Speaking interview with Martin Halusa and four other members of the firm's senior team.