Deal round-up 16/12/03

Amadeus, Apax lead Acol first round; Gyros closes largest Nordic biotech round; HBM leads E13.8m Ingenium round; SG Capital Europe takes Lince stake

Amadeus, Apax lead Acol first round


A trio of European venture capital firms have invested E9m in a first round of investment for ACOL Technologies SA, a Geneva-based company developing new technologies for high brightness light emitting diodes (HBLED) used in public lighting, including road and rail signals, outdoor signage and general illumination.


The financing has been provided by Amadeus Capital, Apax Partners and Mint Capital. “We now have the necessary funding to pursue our ambitious growth strategy and satisfy the strong market interest in our new products,” said Jean-Charles Herpeux, CEO of ACOL Technologies. “In addition, our financial partners bring ACOL’s Board of Directors proven experience in developing leading edge international businesses.”


ACOL Technologies is a spinout from Moscow-based Corvette Light. The business was founded in 1998 by two Russian scientists, who took their ideas for a new technology to improve the quality and reduce the cost of HBLEDs to Corvette.


Gyros closes largest Nordic biotech round


Swedish biotech company Gyros has closed its third round of financing, raising $20m. The funding has been provided by a group of international investors led by Scandinavian Life Science Venture (SLSV) and including Investor Growth Capital, Schroder Ventures Life Sciences, 3i, Ettena Förvaltnings, Swedish Industrial Development Fund, InnovationsKapital, Health & Brand Capital and Life Equity Sweden.


Gyros miniaturises and integrates laboratory applications enabling scientists to generate more information from less sample and to improve lab performance. The funding represents the largest private venture capital biotech investment in Scandinavia this year.


Gyros has 75 employees working at its headquarters in Uppsala Science Park, Sweden and in sales offices in the USA and Europe.


HBM leads E13.8m Ingenium round


Munich-based life sciences company Ingenium Pharmaceuticals AG has raised E13.8m in its third round of financing. The round was led by new investor HBM BioVentures and existing backers TVM Techno Venture Management and Polaris Venture Partners. Existing investors participating in the round are Ascenion GmbH, Index Ventures, IKB, Schroder Ventures Life Sciences, and Sofinnova Partners.


“HBM is pleased to continue its leaderships in choosing investments that have strong management and ground-breaking drug discovery technologies,” said Erich Platzer, chairman of the Ingenium Supervisory Board and investment advisor at HBM Partners Zurich, the investment advisor to HBM BioVentures.


Ingenium Pharmaceuticals AG, founded in 1998, is a privately-held company based in Martinsried, Germany. The company is a spin-off from Munich-based GFS, a large natural science research institute. Ingenium secured one of the largest rounds ever to be raised by a European life sciences firm in September 2000, when the company raised E50m.


SG Capital Europe takes Lince stake


SG Capital Europe, the private equity arm of Groupe Société Generale, has acquired a 70 per cent stake in Group Lince, an Italian company operating in the field of electronic business information and credit collection. SG’s investment in the transaction was approximately E17m.


Founded in 1920 in Milan, Group Lince operates nationwide with branches in Milan, Bologna, Florence, Padova, Pescara, Rome and Turin. The company employs 400 people and reported turnover of E42m in 2002. SG said it intends to grow the company across Europe by expanding its Italian operations prior to making acquisitions.


“Lince is characterised by strong and steady growth and low cyclicality,” said Francesco de Giglio, a partner in SG Capital Europe. “In the past three years it has overperformed the market posting a 15 per cent compounded growth, double the market growth rate.”