EQT triumphs in €1.8bn BSN auction

EQT fought off stiff competition from its heavyweight European peers to acquire wound-dressing company BSN Medical from Montagu Private Equity, which booked a 3x return on the sale.

Montagu Private Equity has sold German bandage manufacturer BSN Medical for €1.8 billion to EQT Partners in one of the biggest European buyouts so far this year.

EQT triumphed in the hotly-contested auction of BSN, fighting off rival bids from firms understood to include CVC Capital Partners and BC Partners (who made a joint bid), Permira, and Nordic Capital-owned ConvaTec. Trade buyer Kimberly Clark was also understood to have made an offer. CVC was reportedly among the bidders that lost out to Montagu in 2006 when it acquired the business.

EQT made the acquisition using capital from its EQT VI fund. Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank advised EQT on its bid. Goldman Sachs and HSBC acted as advisors to Montagu and BSN.

BSN posted revenues of €665 million last year, and employs about 4,000 people. It has manufacturing facilities in Germany, France, Colombia, Mexico, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, the US and Venezuela.

Marcus Brennecke, a partner at EQT's German office, said: “We view BSN as a highly attractive growth case with strong resilience across the business cycle. While continuing to strengthen the position in key markets and in key product segments, there is tremendous potential in entering new geographic markets, especially in Asia and Latin America. BSN’s global foot-print and large sales force provide an excellent platform for add-on acquisitions.”

Montagu acquired BSN in 2006 for about €1 billion using capital from its third fund, a €2.3 billion 2005-vintage vehicle. It has attempted to sell the company at least twice since then: first in 2008 when it pulled an auction after concerns that unsolicited bids it had received were not deliverable, and again in 2010 when it considered listing the business. The price-tag in 2008 was understood to be between €1.8 billion and €1.9 billion. 

This week's successful sale to EQT however means Montagu has booked a 3x return on its investment. 

Sylvain Berger-Duquene, a director at Montagu, said in a statement: “Under Montagu’s ownership, BSN has grown its sales by over 30 percent, made five acquisitions, strengthened its product portfolio, and invested heavily in its research and development capabilities, manufacturing network, and people.”