Deal round-up 07/04/03

Sovereign leads Principal Schools buyout; Epigenomics lands E21m third round; Apax backs E10m Corvil Networks round; Granville Baird backs German MBO; Granville Baird backs German MBO

Sovereign leads Principal Schools buyout


UK private equity firm Sovereign Capital has led its fifth buyout in the educational and healthcare sector in the last twelve months, backing a £9.2m deal to acquire Principal Care Services, a residential schools group for children and young adults with Special Educational Needs.


PCS, based in Herefordshire, comprises three purpose built facilities catering for children and young adults with severe learning disabilities. Bank of Scotland's Specialist Property Finance Unit provided the debt funding.


Sovereign’s five investments in the sector this year are the IBO of Honormead, a UK group of residential schools for children with Special Educational Needs; the MBO of Complete Personal Assistance, a provider of specialist care for young severely disabled people; the buyout of CHOICE, a provider of residential services for adults with learning disability and the IBO of Davies Laing & Dick, the independent schools group.


Epigenomics lands E21m third round


A group of international investors has provided third round financing for German biotech company Epigenomics. New investor The Wellcome Trust and all existing VC investors participated in the round. Existing investors include 3i and Abingworth, Deutsche Venture Capital DVC, MPM Capital, and German-based TBG. The latest round brings to E56m the total capital raised by Epigenomics since its inception in 1998.


Epigenomics will use the funds for the further development of its diagnostic products in cancer as well as its pharmacodiagnostic and research products. In addition, Epigenomics will also apply these funds to pursue different disease indications and for general corporate purposes. 3i director Klaus Stöckemann and Bruce Carter, president of Zymogenetics will join the company board.


Apax backs E10m Corvil Networks round


Corvil Networks, a developer of operations support software based in Dublin, has landed a second round of financing worth E10m. The round was led by Funds advised by Apax Partners and included Cisco Systems as a new investor as well as existing investors ACT Venture Capital. Corvil has now secured over E15m in venture funding since being founded three years ago. ACT Venture Capital provided seed capital for the company and led the first round of financing. Additional institutional investors include Enterprise Ireland and Ion Equity.

Granville Baird backs German MBO


European private equity firm Granville Baird Capital Partners has acquired German filament manufacturer Hahl Group, a Munderkingen-based company that employs 300 people in Germany, the Czech Republic and the UK. The business is being sold by US group, Apex Speciality Materials, which was forced to dispose of the profitable Hahl Group because of financial difficulties.


The financial details of the deal have not been disclosed, although last year the company generated sales of E35m. Granville Baird partner Kane Pirie said that Hahl would invest between E20m and E30m in the company’s future growth.


Matrix backs Envelopes BIMBO


UK private equity firm Matrix Private Equity has agreed to invest £500,000 in the buy-in management buyout of Envelopes Plus, a manufacturer supplying envelopes for the greetings card industry. HSBC, which provided debt for the deal, and Matrix were introduced to the deal by BDO Stoy Hayward Corporate FinanceAshley Broomberg, director of Matrix, will join the Envelopes Plus board.


Richard Herd, the managing director leading the BIMBO, has over 15 years experience in the envelope supply industry. Currently Envelopes employs 20 staff and is based in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire. The new management will seek to expand operations by extending the ranges produced, as well as targeting the European market.