Bridgepoint makes 5x money on Alcontrol

London-based Candover has acquired the Dutch laboratory testing services group in a deal valued at approximately €345 million.

UK buyout house Bridgepoint has sold Alcontrol, a Dutch-based laboratory testing services group to London-headquartered Candover for approximately €345 million ($447 million), according to a source close to the transaction.

The sale, Bridgepoint’s 12th exit of 2004, is understood to have realised a multiple of 5x the firm’s original investment in the €112 million buyout from Kelda Group in December 2000.

Candover reportedly beat off competition from private equity firms ABN AMRO Capital, Apax Partners, JP Morgan Partners and Warburg Pincus in an auction process run by BNP Paribas.

Dutch-headquartered Alcontrol supplies testing services to food and environmental markets in the UK, Netherlands and other European markets. The company operates 26 laboratories across ten countries, employing over 1500 staff.

The acquisition is Candover’s third in the last four weeks following the acquisition of Belgian electronic publisher Bureau van Dijk and the purchase of Swedish sports utility transportation company Thule AB for €485 million.

The firm is investing Candover 2001, a €2.7 billion fund, which is understood to be approximately 75 percent invested following the transaction.

Candover is likely to return to the fundraising trail in 2005, but has also suffered setbacks in the last two days following reports of a €300 million write-down in portfolio company Ontex, the hygiene products supplier and news today that the UK division of ground handling business of another 2001 Fund investment, Swissport, has been shut down.