Close Brothers exits again

Close Brothers Private Equity has sold Aroma & Fine Chemicals, a UK fragrances group, for £21m.

Octel, the US-listed global speciality chemicals group, has acquired Widnes, England-based Aroma & Fine Chemicals for £21 million (€31 million; $38 million) from UK mid-market buyout firm Close Brothers Private Equity.

Close Brothers invested an undisclosed sum in the £10 million management buyout of Aroma in 2001, which was led by partner Iain Slater.

Commenting on the disposal, Slater said in a statement: “Aroma is a good example of how a plant integrated within a large multinational organisation can be turned into a highly successful standalone business.”

Aroma was originally a factory belonging to New York-listed International Flavors and Fragrances and generated annual sales of around £20 million last year. The company manufactures aroma ingredients for household cleaning products and the agro-chemicals sector and its customers include blue-chip multinationals Procter & Gamble and Unilever.

The transaction is Close Brothers’ sixth exit to date this year following disposals of their interests in vehicle auction business Motor Auctions, engineering company Hill & Smith, travel services operator Capital Incentives and European Golf Brands.

Earlier this month, the firm announced a four times return on its investment in UK blind manufacturer Hillarys Blinds in a £115 million secondary buyout led by Change Capital, the start-up private equity firm headed by former Marks & Spencer chairman Luc Vandevelde.

Close Brothers is currently investing from its £360 million Fund VII, which closed in March this year.