Apax sells Banca Farmafactoring to Centerbridge

The sale of the Italian bank has netted Apax a return of approximately 5.5x

Apax Partners has agreed to sell their stake in Banca Farmafactoring, an Italian bank with operations in Italy, Spain and Portugal, to an affiliate of Centerbridge Partners, according to a statement.

Financial details of the transaction, which is subject to approval by the European Central Bank and the relevant competition authorities, were undisclosed. But Apax will net a return of approximately 5.5x on the sale, according to a source familiar with the matter. Apax declined to comment.

Banca Farmafactoring is a provider of credit management and non-recourse factoring services to suppliers to the Italian and Iberian public sectors. Banca Farmafactoring also provides non-recourse factoring for clients who choose not to retain them on their own balance sheets. In Italy, it also operates in the retail deposit market.

Apax acquired Banca Farmafactoring in late 2006 when the company was solely operating in Italy. Since that time, the business has grown significantly, notably expanding its services into Spain and Portugal. Banca Farmafactoring obtained a full banking licence in 2013.

“We see significant potential ahead to build on the successful track record of Banca Farmafactoring as it expands its services and capitalises on opportunities domestically and in other markets in Southern Europe, building on its recently obtained status as a licensed depositary,” Luigi Sbrozzi, a principal at Centerbridge Partners, said in the statement.

Apax made the original investment using capital from Apax Europe VI, a €4.31 billion 2005-vintage, according to PEI’s Research & Analytics division. It is understood that vehicle is currently valued at 2.2x.

The exit comes after Apax generated $8.3 billion in total realisations in 2014 – the biggest year for exits in its history. In May the firm sold its 56 percent stake in Tnuva, one of Israel’s largest food companies, to China food. Agriculture business Bright Food Group was sold for around $2.5 billion, generating a 5x return, while in December, Apax booked 2x on the sale of mobile phone operator Orange Switzerland to family office NJJ Capital for CHF 2.8 billion ($2.9 billion; €2.3 billion), PEI reported at the time.

The firm also invested $1.9 billion last year, including picking up Dutch software business Exact Holding for €32 per share and offering $600 million for Norwegian IT services provider EVRY ASA.