Duke Street sails away with Navimo

Duke Street Capital has acquired Navimo, a pan-European provider of boat and yacht accessories and equipment, from fellow UK-based private equity firm Bridgepoint Capital.

France-based Navimo, a provider of equipment and accessories to the recreational marine sector, has been acquired by Duke Street Capital from Bridgepoint Capital. The deal is subject to approval from the European competition authorities, with completion scheduled for September 2004.

Bridgepoint first invested in the business in July 1999. No price has been disclosed for the sale to Duke Street, but a source close to the transaction said the consideration was roughly equal to the firm’s forecast annual turnover of €120 million.

Navimo has 680 staff and operations in 90 countries, providing a range of equipment and accessories for recreational yachts and motorboats up to 50 metres in size. Its brands include: Plastimo (security and navigational equipment); Goiot (deck fittings); Max Power (bow thrusters); and Nuova Rade (plastic marine products).

Duke Street’s Paris-based managing director Fred Chauffier said Navimo would aim to play a leading role in consolidating an extremely fragmented market for the provision of marine accessories: particularly in the UK, France, Italy and Spain. “The business will aim to add value by the integration of second-tier players,” he said. He also hinted that the firm would seek a larger presence in the US, where it has only a small operation at present. The US accounts for around 60 percent of the global market.

Duke Street received financial advice on the deal from Calyon and legal advice from Linklaters, while Bridgepoint was advised by BNP Paribas and CMS Bureau Francis Lefebvre. ING is arranging and underwriting debt facilities for the acquisition.

Duke Street, which invests in European businesses with an enterprise value up to €300 million, has offices in London and Paris. Its previous acquisition in France came in July 2003 when it bought Galaxie, the budget hotel chain, in a deal worth around €200 million.