Capvis makes third 2004 acquisition

The Swiss private equity firm has agreed to acquire a Swiss chemical company in an CHF81 million management buy out.

Zurich-based Capvis Equity Partners will acquire SF-Chem AG, a Swiss-headquartered chemical company from previous owners Syngenta and Clariant for CHF81 million (€52 million; $65 million).

The investment will be made from the €340 million Capvis Equity II LP, which closed in June 2003. The deal is the third acquisition by the fund this year, following investments at undisclosed valuations in ETAVIS (formerly ABB Building Systems Switzerland) and German automotive supplier Findlay Industries.

SF-Chem, formerly known as Saurefabrik, supplies chemicals and commodities to the agrochemicals, pharmaceuticals and speciality chemicals industries. The company employs 360 people globally and generated sales of CHF166 million in 2003.

Capvis will take an 85 percent stake in the company following completion of the transaction with management taking up the remaining 15 percent. Debt financing for the transaction was provided by the Zurich Cantonal Bank.

Capvis was formerly a division of Swiss Bank Corporation before spinning out in 1999 to become Capvis Equity Partners, with its former parent, then known as UBS, retaining a minority stake. In October 2002, the Capvis investment team bought out UBS’ stake and now owns 100 percent of the firm.

Since 1990, the firm has completed 28 investments in companies in Switzerland, Austria and Germany.