HSBC Private Equity expects baby growth

The firm has led and arranged the buyout, from private investors, of Ampafrance, a leading French manufacturer of baby products.

The deal, for an undisclosed amount, was financed through a combination of 40 per cent institutional equity, provided by HSBC Private Equity, and 60 per cent senior debt, provided by HSBC CCF.

Set up at the end of the 19th century, TextAmpafrance is a French manufacturer of baby products, such as pushchairs and car seats. The second largest in Europe, it has three major brands; Bébé Confort, Monbébé and Babidéal. The group has around 1,000 employees and operates plants in France, Italy and Portugal, with sub-contracting agreements in China and North Africa.

The group has shown strong growth in sales and profits over the last few years. For the year to September 2001 it is expected to generate sales of E166m, a 15 per cent increase on the year before. But, Denis Leroy of HSBC Private Equity Paris points out that this was an exceptionally “good year” and a trend of between five to ten per cent should be expected thereafter. The group plans further growth in Spain, UK and Italy, which it sees as important regions in the baby market.

The deal was originated by HSBC, through a broker, around a year ago. A vendor tried to introduce some competition but because of the strong relationship HSBC had with the MD Dominique Favario, this did not happen.

Favario, who is now the CEO, believes the transaction guarantees the independence of the company and gives it the support of a powerful international financial group. “This will favour our expansion in new markets and our growth of sales and profits, based on the strong success of the new product lines and our strategy of continuing to develop innovative new products,” he said.

Mathieu Guillemin, Investment Director, HSBC Private Equity’s Paris office, said: “Under the leadership of Dominique Favario, Ampafrance has demonstrated dynamic growth which we are confident it can maintain.”