Carlyle has exclusive for St Gobain unit

The US private equity house has beaten off competition from PAI Partners and agreed a E500m-plus offer for the French group’s roof tiling business.

US private equity house Carlyle Group has entered into exclusive talks with French industrial materials group Saint Gobain to acquire its terracotta roof tiling business.


Sources close to the US firm have confirmed that Carlyle has agreed to pay between E500m and E550m for Terreal, which manufactures a range of clay products designed for roofing for residential and office buildings. Carlyle declined to comment.


According to a report on Reuters, Carlyle beat off competition from a number of private equity firms, including PAI Partners, which made it to the final round of bidding. ING Bank will provide financing for the buyout, the report said.


In its most recent figures, Terreal reported annual sales of E330m. The business employs 2000 people worldwide across 20 production sites in, Italy, Spain, the USA and Malaysia in addition to 14 sites in France.


If the deal goes through, Terreal will be the latest in a lengthy list of European acquisitions in the past twelve months for the US firm. Most recently, it completed the E1.5bn acquisition of Fiat Avio, the Italian aerospace business. In January, it bought Casema, the third largest cable television operator in the Netherlands, from France Telecom for E665m.


In December 2002, the firm made two acquisitions in the UK, taking a 33 per cent stake in Qinetiq, the defence research organisation of the British Ministry of Defence, in a deal that valued it at £500m. Firth Rixson plc, a UK-based specialist engineering group was also acquired in a £50m take-private deal.


The firm has also made a number of senior appointments to strengthen its presence in Europe. In June, Cees van Lede, former CEO and chairman of the management board of Akzo Nobel, joined the advisory board of the firm’s E1bn buyout fund, Carlyle Europe Partners.


Fundraising for a E2bn successor fund is currently underway.


In April, Duncan Lewis, former CEO of GTS/Ebone, joined the firm as senior advisor to its global telecommunications and media group at the firm’s London offices. In January, Ulrich Schumacher, president and CEO of German semiconductor company Infineon Technologies, joined the advisory board of the firm's E650m venture capital fund Carlyle Europe Venture Partners.