Gimv invests E6m in MBO of Belgian industrial service group 3s

As buyouts become a more significant proportion of its portfolio, Belgian private equity firm Gimv has acquired a majority stake in 3s.

Private Equity investor Gimv has invested E6m in a management buyout of the Belgian industrial maintenance and cleaning group 3 S, giving it a majority stake of 75 per cent. Other investors are former managers Erwin Andries and Marnix Vandekerckhove, and general manager Geert Mertens, who has the smallest stake.

Through its various subsidiaries 3 S (Single Source Services), has become a significant force in the industrial cleaning and maintenance sector with clients including Volvo and General Motors.
The company, which employs nearly 1000 in peak periods, expects to realise a consolidated turnover of E33m for 2001.

Recognising the growing importance of buyouts in the Belgian market, the investment is the third buyout for Gimv this year, a company that has traditionally been a capital provider for minority stakes. Guy Mampaey, manager of corporate investment, believes that management teams are becoming more interested in being supported by a financial partner to offer a way out for family shareholders, say within the context of a problematic succession. He also believes it is a route for multinationals wanting to refocus on their core businesses. “Gimv wishes to participate in this trend and to share our experience with respect to structuring, financing and professionalisation,' he explained.

Gimv, which has been listed on Euronext Brussels since 1997, invests in information and communication technology, biotechnology companies and traditional sectors. At the end of February, it sold part of its shareholding in Telenet to Callahan Associates for a total transaction value of E391m. The sale of its stake created a capital gain of E282m for the company.