BC Partners acquires Galbani

Groupe Danone has announced the sale of the foods producer in a E1bn transaction.

European private equity firm BC Partners has acquired the Italian cheese and cured meat operations of Groupe Danone. BC Partners has paid E1.015bn for Galbani, which had a turnover of E1.1bn in FY 2001.

The transaction, which is subject to European antitrust authorities approval, will not generate any capital loss in 2002 for Danone. Danone's 2001 financial results released in January had already built in a E450m capital loss to account for the Galbani sale. Included in the deal is a E207m vendor loan note from Danone, thereby reducing the amount of equity to be raised by BC Partners. Danone had originally hoped to sell Galbani for around E1.5bn.

BC Partners' leveraged buyout of Galbani is one of the largest of its kind seen in Italy. JP Morgan Chase is providing BC Partners with an undisclosed amount of debt finance. Deutsche Bank is co-advising BC Partners, alongside BNP Paribas, on the acquisition.

In 1998, Danone sold its Panzalim pasta sauce business to BNP Paribas’ private equity arm, PAI. In 1999, the firm sold its majority stake of BSN Embellage to European buyout specialist CVC Capital Partners.

A deal with U.K. buyout firm Doughty Hanson and Italian dairy conglomerate Parmalat Finanziaria to acquire Galbani had earlier fell through because the pair refused to match Danone's valuation of more than E1.1bn.

BC Partners, with offices in London, Paris, Milan and Hamburg, runs the E4.25bn BC European Capital VII fund. In Italy, the BC Partners Fund has carried out investments in companies including Brembo, Zucchini, Interpump, Buffetti and Seat.