French duo pursue Mecatherm PTP

French private equity firms Astorg Partners and 21 Centrale Partners have acquired a controlling stake in French industrial oven maker Mecatherm in a deal worth more than E50m.

French private equity house Astorg Partners – who are presently fundraising – and 21 Centrale Partners, the French unit of Italy's venture capital fund 21 Investimenti, have joined forces to back a buyout of Mecatherm, a French industrial oven manufacturer.


The two firms have formed Financière Impala, a holding company in which Astorg holds 61 per cent and 21 Centrale holds the remaining 39 per cent stake. The 53.8 per cent stake being sold by founder René Voegtlin equates to 2.1m shares and is being valued at around E50m. Debt financing for the acquisition is being provided by Credit Lyonnais.


After acquiring the stake from Voegtlin, the consortium intends to advise CONSOB (the French stock market authority) that it is offering to acquire the remaining shares of Mecatherm at a price of E27 per share, representing a premium of 21.3 per cent over the average listed price of the last six months.


Established in 1964, Mecatherm, based near Strasbourg, designs and manufactures automated production equipment for plant bakeries worldwide. Overseas sales represented over 70 per cent of Mecatherm’s turnover of E55.2m in 2002.


The transaction marks Astorg’s second foray in less than a month into the industrial oven market, following the acquisition in October of ECM, a French industrial furnace maker, from 3i. Astorg reportedly paid around E50m for that business.


Astorg Partners is currently raising Astorg III, a France-focused mid-market buyout fund targeting a total of E300m. The fund held a first close at E110m in September this year.