Carlyle exits aerospace investment

The global buyout firm has made the debut realisation from its Europe Technology Partners Fund with the sale of a UK aerospace business for £71 million.

The Carlyle Group has sold NP Aerospace, a UK manufacturer of lightweight composite amour systems, for £71 million (€105 million, $144 million). UK engineering business Morgan Crucible has paid £41 million for a 49 percent stake while the management team has increased its 10 percent stake to 51 percent.

Morgan Crucible and the management team are each paying around £5 million for equity while Morgan Crucible is providing another £36 million in debt. The deal values NP Aerospace at £71 million.

Carlyle originally bought an 85 percent stake in the business in November 2005, making an investment from Carlyle Europe Technology Partners, a €222 million fund that closed in May 2006. The price was not disclosed.

NP Aerospace is one of Europe’s biggest suppliers of specialist composite mouldings to the aerospace, medical imaging, automotive and defence sectors. Under private equity ownership, NP Aerospace’s sales have increased by more than 75 percent and its profits by more than 100 percent.

The Europe Technology Partners Fund has made several other exits and one investment in 2007 to date – it bought Mill Digital Media, a provider of digital post-production and video distribution services to the television advertising industry, in February.

The Carlyle Group has more than $70 billion under management and employs more than 800 people in 19 countries. The firm’s European venture capital team manages two funds – a Europe Technology Partners fund and a Europe Venture Partners fund that closed in January 2000 on €553 million.