Hutton Collins invests €45m in Italian fibre maker

The firm’s first deal from its €600m fund closed last year will allow niche manufacturer Aquafil to expand into China.

Hutton Collins Partners has made a €45 million preferred equity investment in Italy’s Aquafil, a maker of synthetic fibres for high-end carpets.

The 40-year old fibre company has 1,800 employees around the globe and last year booked revenues of €380.7 million, according to a statement.

Hutton Collins’ equity injection will allow the European company to expand into Asia. A majority stake will be retained by the Bonazzi Group, an Italian textile company.

Synthetic fibres: Hutton Collins' latest deal

The transaction marks the first deal from the firm’s third fund, closed on €600 million last year.

“We have reviewed many, many opportunities and deals we could have done but we wanted to be sure to start investing in the right time and industries,” Hutton Collins partner Mauro Moretti told PEO. “I think it was a wise decision to wait.”

Moretti joined the firm last year from BC Partners, in anticipation of Hutton Collins’ push into Italy.

The Italian mid-market is well suited for the type of preferred equity investment Hutton Collins employs, Moretti said.

“The preferred capital is approach is very, very interesting, for example, for family owned businesses that want to retain a majority stake” and keep their management teams in place, he said.

Hutton Collins’ typical equity cheque of €40 million to €80 million also fits well with the typical size of Italian mid-market companies, he added.

Aquafil is Hutton Collins’ second Italian deal, having previously invested in power and renewable energy company Elettra Group.