Bridgepoint buys in to Italian cosmetics

London-based investor Bridgepoint has purchased a 70 percent stake in Italian perfumery Limoni for a reported €470m.

European buyout firm Bridgepoint has made its second acquisition this week, with the purchase of Limoni, an Italian perfumery group, for an undisclosed sum. According to a report in eFinancial News, the deal valued the company at €470 million ($605 million).

Following its acquisition of French publisher Groupe Moniteur yesterday, the London-based investor has purchased a 70 percent stake in Limoni from former shareholders De Agostini Group, Gianfilippo Cuneo, Interbanca, Banca Intesea and Isabella Seragnoli.

Piofrancesco Borghetti, founder of cosmetics group Limoni, increased his stake in the company from 20.3 percent to 30 percent in the transaction. According to Bridgepoint, Limoni is the Italian market leader with a network of 400 stores in Italy and 16 in Croatia and Slovenia.

Limoni reported a consolidated turnover of €304 million in 2005, up 13.6 percent on 2004 figures. Borghetti said in a release that the group intends to open 60 new perfumeries in 2006 and estimated 2006 turnover to reach €360 million.

Debt for the transaction was provided by ING, BNP Paribas and Banca Intesa. Bridgepoint was advised by Rothschild; NCTM; Camozzi & Bonissoni; KPMG; Boston Consulting Group; and Marsh.

Bridgepoint’s most recent investment in the cosmetics sector was French perfumery chain Nocibé, which Bridgepoint sold to Charterhouse Capital Partners in December for a reported €500 million. At the time, Benoît Bassi, managing director of Bridgepoint’s operations in France, told PEO that the firm had made 3x its money on the sale.

Guido Belli, partner responsible for Bridgepoint’s investment activities in Italy, said in a release that, under Bridgepoint’s three years of ownership, Nocibé’s turnover had increased by 30 percent to €460 million and its number of stores rose from 285 to 359.

The Limoni transaction was Bridgepoint’s fourth from its Bridgepoint Europe III fund, which closed on €2.5 billion in 2005. The firm was not immediately available for comment.