Close Brothers in fragrant MBO

The private equity group has backed the purchase of the UK-based aromatic chemicals plant from International Flavors & Fragrances.

Close Brothers Private Equity (CBPE) has backed a management buyout of the UK-based fragrance chemicals business of US group International Flavors & Fragrances for an undisclosed sum. The new company will be called Aroma & Fine Chemicals.

Based in Widnes, Chesire, the business is an established player in the fragrance chemicals industry with an annual turnover of £20m and around 80 employees. Its core product Lilestralis is a scent extract from the lily of the valley, and is used in the household cleaning products manufactured by international companies such as Proctor & Gamble.

Iain Slater, a partner at CBPE, commented: “The company’s products are extremely established and integrated into the domestic cleaning product industry which is a stable marketplace and not that susceptible to strong or weak moments in the economy. After all people always have to wash their clothes,” he said.

The Widnes site also has the capacity to produce other chemical products he said. “In this world of consolidation, that is very appealing.”

CBPE is the private equity business of Close Brothers. It was established in 1984 and in 2000, made around £250m of deals. The firm is today raising funds for CBPE Fund VI and by the end of 2001 will have funds under management of more than £300m.