ARX picks up Czech eye clinics

The Central and Eastern Europe-focused firm acquired Czech ophthalmic chain Lexum Group for an estimated €20m. ARX,which spun out of Deutsche Beteiligungs last year, secured the deal with senior debt from Czech LLBBW Bank.

ARX Private Equity has bought a majority stake in a network of Czech eye clinics called Lexum Group. The terms were not disclosed though market sources estimate the deal was worth around €20 million.

The funds will be used to aid the expansion of Lexum clinics, which treat cataracts, retinal problems and provide sight corrective laser treatments. The chain currently operates in three Czech cities–Prague, Ostrava and Ceské Budejovice—there are plans to open a Brno clinic this summer. Last year the clinics performed over 11,000 cataract operations and over 5,700 laser surgery procedures.

Seeing the value

Lexum’s founding partner Martin Filipec will retain an undisclosed minority stake.

ARX, formerly DBG Eastern Europe, secured the deal with senior debt from local LLBBW Bank. It invested from across two funds, split 50:50 between the DBG Eastern Europe Fund II, which closed on €67.5 million in 2004; and ARX Central Eastern-European Fund III (CEE III), which ARX has been raising since it spun out of Deutsche Beteiligungs early last year.

This is only the second deal to be made from CEE III, following the acquisition last month of Polish pet store chain Kakadu. The fund held a first close on €83 million last October and is targeting €125 million for final close.

Led by managing partners Jacek Korpala and Brian Wardrop ARX now has offices in Bucharest, Budapest, Prague and Warsaw.