CVC sells ista to Charterhouse for €2.4 billion

CVC Capital Partners has realised most of its investment in German metering business ista, after completing a €2.4 billion secondary sale to UK buyout firm Charterhouse Capital Partners.

CVC Capital Partners has sold German metering company ista to fellow buyout firm Charterhouse Capital Partners, in a €2.4 billion ($3.2 billion) secondary deal.

Ista provides energy and water metering services for commercial and domestic customers. CVC bought the business in June 2003 from German utility E.ON, and has since been able to increase sales from €460 million in 2002 to €600 million in 2006, while staff numbers rose from 3,700 to 4,500. The company does 60 percent of its business in Germany, but is also active in more than 20 other countries.

However, the sale will not represent a total exit for CVC. It will re-invest some of the proceeds back into the business, allowing it to retain a small minority stake. Senior managing director Marc Strobel said it remained a highly attractive proposition. “We strongly believe in ista’s future potential and trust in management’s capabilities,” he said.

Ista chief executive Walter Schmidt said Charterhouse’s previous experience with business service companies like PHS and Autobar was the clinching factor. “Charterhouse is fully committed to endorse management’s plans and to provide further capital to assist in the expansion of the business,” he added.

Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank advised CVC, with Freshfields providing legal counsel.