Enterprise Investors backs Polish laboratories

The CEE-focused firm invested €8m from its venture capital fund in JS Hamilton Poland

Polish private equity firm Enterprise Investors has backed JS Hamilton Poland (JSH), the second largest company in the testing, inspection and certification market in Poland, using capital from its €100 million venture fund.

The firm has invested €8 million from its Enterprise Venture Fund I, a 2008-vintage vehicle, to acquire 19 percent of JSH’s shares, according to a statement from the firm.

According to a spokesperson from Enterprise Investors, EVF has invested in a total of 15 companies and is almost 70 percent invested. 

JSH offers a range of independent laboratory analysis and inspection services to a number of industries, primarily the fast-moving consumer goods, fuel and environmental sectors. The company operates through a network of 13 local offices and laboratories, with its main lab based in Gdynia, Poland, and employs 230 analysts and 80 inspectors and samplers. JSH generated more than €13.7 million in revenues last year, a 29 percent increase on the previous year, according to Enterprise Investors.

“The TIC sector, backed by new regulations imposed either by local acts or European directives, is poised for further growth,” said Enterprise Investors partner Rafal Bator, who is in charge of the investment.

EVF, the firm’s first venture fund, invests between €5 million and €10 million to finance companies’ expansion, focusing on the technology sector as well as more traditional areas, such as financial services, consumer goods and manufacturing.

Previous investments from EVF include IT outsourcing company itWORKS, of which Enterprise Investors acquired 100 percent in 2009, Polish metals and electro-waste recycling company Elemental Holding, in which the firm holds a 10 percent stake, and Polski Bank Komórek Macierzystych, an umbilical cord blood bank, of which EVF owns 58 percent.

Enterprise Investors, one of the largest private equity and venture capital firms in Central and Eastern Europe, is also currently investing Polish Enterprise Fund VII, which closed in May 2013 on €314 million, below its original target of €650 million.

In November the firm sold 20 percent of asset management firm Skarbiec Holding through an IPO on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, generating gross proceeds of €10.2 million. In August Enterprise Investors exited AVG Technologies, generating a total return of 12x. Both investments came from Polish Enterprise Fund V, a 2004-vintage €300 million vehicle.