Clessidra completes second deal

Clessidra Capital, the debut fund launched by former Fininvest chief executive Claudio Sposito, has completed its second investment as part of a consortium acquiring Sirti, the Italian telecom equipment group.

Clessidra Capital is part of a consortium that has acquired Sirti, the Milan-based systems integrator of networking and engineering solutions for the telecom, rail, highway traffic control, power transmission, broadcasting, distribution and military sectors.

Sirti is being acquired by Sistemi Tecnologici Holding (STH), a joint venture in which Clessidra Capital and private equity firm Investindustrial both have 28.5 percent stakes; industrial equipment maker Techint and Canadian timber group Stella Jones have 20 percent stakes; and financial investor 21 Investimenti’s Giada fund has a three percent interest.     

STH has acquired a 69.5 percent stake in Sirti from its parent company Wiretel for €294.7 million and announced a mandatory €122.5 million offer for the remaining shares to be launched in early 2005, resulting in a total deal consideration of €417.2 million.

Investindustrial, Techint and Stella Jones were all part of a consortium that backed a management buy-in at Sirti in 2000. UK-based private equity group 3i, Italian investment bank Interbanca and information systems company Selen were also investors in the MBI, and all three are reported to be exiting completely through the latest deal.

Investindustrial chairman Andrea Bonomi said: “This transaction is part of a larger plan for the development of the company, which through the reorganisation of the shareholder base, aims to exploit the inherent value of Sirti’s assets and to complete the organic growth in Italy and in Spain.”

Sirti employs approximately 5,400 staff in Italy and Spain. In 2003, it posted consolidated sales of €659 million, EBITDA of €71 million and EBIT of €64 million. Its management team of chairman Gianni Chiarva, vice chairman Alberto Lina and managing director Ambrogio Lualdi will remain in place following the latest deal.

Clessidra, which held a first closing of its debut fund on €560 million in October 2003, completed its first deal last month when acquiring Edison Gas, the owner of a 1,300 kilometre Italian gas network. Clessidra’s fund is backed by a range of Italian blue-chips including Telecom Italia and Assicurazioni Generali.