Barclays PE buys Axa unit

The firm’s French unit has taken a 90 per cent stake in business risk insurer Albingia, backing a management buyout at the E110m turnover business.

Barclays Private Equity France, the French division of Barclays Bank’s private equity unit, has agreed terms on a management buyout of French business risk insurer Albingia.
 
The financial terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.
 
Albingia was formed in 1962. The company, with offices in Lille, Strasbourg, Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux, Paris, is part of the the Axa insurance group. Barclays Private Equity and Albingia management, backed with financing from HSBC-CCF, have taken a 90 per cent stake in the business. Axa will retain a ten per cent interest.
 
“This deal is further evidence of our lengthy experience in buyouts from large French institutions,” said Olivier Millet, managing director of Barclays Private Equity France. “We have now completed more than 15 deals of this type, involving divisions of Vivendi, Philips, IBM, Unilever, Accor and Areva.” Millet said the firm had particular experience of the insurance sector, including two UK-based insurance-related acquisitions.
 
Albingia provides accident cover for industrial clients, including construction, fire and accident insurance. The company is expected to report turnover of E110m in 2003.
 
Barclays Private Equity, investing from its E1.2bn buyout fund closed last December, said it plans to complete three to five deals per year in France. To date in 2003, the firm has completed four transactions in the French market, including the recent acquisition buyout of Interflora France, the French unit of the international flower distribution business.

The purchase of Interflora followed earlier buyouts at Domus Vi, a care specialist for the elderly and SP Metal, a manufacturer of household packaging products.