CHAMP Ventures in $76m exit

The Australian PE firm has exited modular building supplier Australian Portable Buildings in a 3.8x trade sale.

CHAMP Ventures has revealed that it exited Australian Portable Buildings (APB Modular) in a trade sale to a consortium of strategic buyers for A$72.5 million (€57.8 million; $76.1 million). The buyers included Black Diamond Group and WEQ Britco LP, both mining companies in North America, according to a firm statement.

The exit multiple was about 3.8x, according to Jonathan Kelly, director at CHAMP Ventures. Pending various conditions and approvals, the deal should close mid-January, according to the statement.

CHAMP Ventures originally partnered with APB Modular’s management team to complete a management buy-in in 2007. The original transaction value for CHAMP was A$22 million, Kelly said, and CHAMP made a number of follow-on investments, which were entirely debt financed.

Since the 2007 management buy-in, APB Modular’s revenues have grown more than four times, according to the statement.

This investment was from CHAMP Ventures Investment Trust No. 6, which is now about half realised. APB Modular marks the third exit from that fund, he said.

Kelly said that CHAMP Ventures had a strategy of building relationships with potential buyers over several years.

“Private equity investors have to focus on finding good businesses, rather than trying to play the market or being asset managers,” Kelly said. 

Kelly said that mining remains one of the firm’s target sectors.

With about A$3 billion in assets under management, CHAMP Ventures focuses on mid-size investments in Australia and New Zealand. In October, CHAMP completed an A$100 million co-investment with HarbourVest Partners in Australian shipping company Sea Swift. The firm’s latest fund, CVIT 7, raised A$475 million in June last year.