CVC to buy E.ON metering unit

The European private equity house has acquired the German energy provider over the sale of its E1bn metering business.

CVC Capital Partners, the European private equity house, has entered into exclusive talks with Germany utility group E.ON to acquire its energy metering business for E930m, which includes assumed debt of E85m.


The European buyout firm has beaten off competition from several private equity firms in a competitive auction run by Goldman Sachs. Permira was among the final contenders in the auction, which attracted initial interest from 20 bidders, including trade and financial buyers.


CVC was advised by PricewaterhouseCoopers and Willkie Farr & Gallagher. Debt facilities are being provided by CIBC and Goldman Sachs.


Viterra Energy Services provides consumption-dependent energy metering services in 28 countries. In its last full year results in 2001, the company increased sales by twelve per cent to E418m while operating profit increased by a similar margin to E95m. The company employs over 3,500 people.


Viterra Energy Services is part of Viterra, E.ON’s real estate subsidiary. E.ON is required to sell Viterra in order to comply with US competition regulations following the acquisition of UK-based electricity business Powergen.


Montagu Private Equity, the former HSBC Private Equity, is expected to complete a deal to acquire Actaris, a French provider of energy metering systems in the next few weeks. Montagu is likely to pay in the region of E600m for Actaris, which is being sold by LBO France less than 18 months after it acquired the business for E400m.