Close Brothers takes V.Ships stake

The UK private equity firm has agreed to invest $30m in a deal that values the company at around $100m.

Close Brothers Private Equity, the UK-based private equity firm, has provided development capital for V.Ships, the world’s largest third-party manager of cargo and leisure vessels.


The firm has taken a 45 per cent stake in the business, based in Monaco. V.Ships’ senior management and a number of other staff will see their shareholding rise to 45 per cent as part of the transaction, while Vlasov Group and GE Capital will retain a minority shareholding. V.Ships has undergone rapid expansion over the past two years, most recently with the purchase of Acomarit in 2001.


“We have been working with Close Brothers Private Equity for some six months; they have looked closely at our business and understand it well,” said Tullio Biggi, president of V.Ships. “We now need to build on the existing strengths within the Group and proceed with our development plans which we believe will be best achieved under the new financial structure.”


Close Brothers is investing from its CBPE Fund VI. New banking facilities have been arranged by Bank of Scotland and BNP Paribas.


The deal is Close Brothers’ fourth since December. In January, for example, the mid-market investor backed a £32m management buyout at Fosroc Mining, the speciality chemicals business of BP. The firm closed CBPE (UK) Fund VI, its sixth fund, on £202m last March. The firm specialises in making UK mid-market investments in the £10-£75m range.