Electra refinances BWG Group

The European mid-market private equity firm has completed a €150m recapitalisation of UK and Ireland wholesaler BWG.

Electra Partners Europe, the London-headquartered private equity firm, has completed a €150 million ($180 million) refinancing of BWG, the UK and Ireland-based food and drink wholesaler.

A syndicate of banks, including AIB, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank, Bank of Scotland, Barclays and Anglo Irish Bank, teamed up to raise a new debt facility which will primarily be used to repay €95.6 million of shareholder loan notes and a €17.3 million vendor loan note.

Electra led the €220 million MBO of BWG from Pernod Ricard, the French beverage group, in August 2002, investing €76 million for a 65 percent stake in the business.

The original investment in BWG was Electra’s fifth from the €1 billion Electra European Fund, which is understood to be approximately 70 percent committed at this stage. A source close to the firm indicated that Electra is likely to return to the fundraising trail before the end of the year.

Commenting on the transaction in an interview with PrivateEquityOnline, director Damien Lane said that the refinancing would “optimise the capital structure going forward” and allow the business to continue to focus on the three core aspects of the business. BWG owns Spar stores in the Republic of Ireland and South West England, a cash and carry business in Ireland and Bargain Booze, the alcoholic drinks wholesaler in England.