Candover sells Picard to BC for €1.3bn

Candover, the London-based European private equity investor, has realised over 2.7 times capital invested from the €1.3bn sale of Picard Surgeles to fellow private equity firm BC Partners.

BC Partners has acquired retail group Picard Surgeles from Candover, the fellow London-based pan-European private equity firm. BC Partners paid around €1.3 billion ($1.7 billion) for the business.

Candover and Chevrillon & Associes led the €920 million management buyout of Picard Surgeles from Carrefour in February 2001 in a deal in which Montagu Private Equity and Astorg Partners acted as co-investors.

Candover managing director Cyrille Chevrillon said the deal had delivered in excess of 2.7 times capital for investors in the Candover 1997 fund. He said Picard Surgeles has opened almost 150 new stores in the last four years.

Picard Surgeles is a retailer of frozen food to high and middle income bracket customers with 570 stores in France and 45 in Italy. Almost all its product range, comprising 1,000 items, is manufactured for and sold exclusively by, Picard.

The firm also provides a home delivery service in France and last year set up a similar service in the UK, focused on the London area.

In the year ended 31 March 2004, Picard Surgeles’ turnover increased by 13 percent to €747 million and EBITDA by 15 percent to €109 million.

Goldman Sachs and HSBC acted as advisers to the private equity consortium on the sale of Picard Surgeles.

In a statement, Candover said it has now realised more than €1.5 billion from partial or full exits over the last year. Sales during the period included Baxi from the 1994 fund; Pandrol and Clondalkin from the 1997 fund; and Aspen Insurance and Kabel Deutschland from the 2001 fund.

Candover’s most recent 2001 fund raised €2.7 billion, bringing its total funds managed since inception to over €5 billion.