Apax to launch IFCO offer

The UK private equity firm is planning to launch a E2.30 per share offer for German logistics company IFCO Systems in a deal worth around E100m.

IFCO Systems, a German pallets and containers business listed on the German stock exchange in Frankfurt, has confirmed that is has been approached by UK private equity house Apax Partners over a E107m offer for the business.


In a statement yesterday, the German company announced it has been informed that Apax Partners has made a private purchase offer to several of its shareholders “with the intention of acquiring a majority stake in IFCO Systems.”


The offer is being launched through Deutsche Bank at a purchase price of E2.30 per share, which will value the business at E107m. The offer is at a five per cent premium to the current share price of E2.20, and at a 28 per cent premium to the E1.80 price on June 4.


IFCO, one of the leading operators of round-trip container pools in Europe and the largest provider of pallets in North America, reported revenues in 2002 of $380m and income of $7m. For the year ended December 31, the company had debt totalling $124m.


In March 2000, IFCO merged with PalEx, which subsequently changed its name to IFCO Systems North America. The total consideration for the merger was $184.5m for the PalEx common stock plus the assumption of debt of PalEx, which at the time was $153.5m.


At the time of the merger, IFCO also completed an initial public offering of ordinary shares, the net proceeds of which were $203.2m. Earlier this year, the company completed a voluntary financial restructuring. The restructuring consisted of a debt-to-equity swap which freed the company of significant interest payments.


Apax declined to comment on its plans for the business.