Investcorp in £74m Polestar recap

The European printing company has secured £74m of funding from majority shareholder Investcorp to complete a £120m current investment programme and restructure debt.

Investcorp, the Bahrain-based private equity house, has invested a further £74 million (€112 million; $134 million) in Polestar Group, the European printing company.

Polestar will use the money to complete Project True North, which a statement described as an 'ongoing investment programme', and to restructure its debt obligations.

Project True North is a £120 million programme of investment in press, binding and poly-bagging equipment at a greenfield development facility currently under construction in Sheffield, England and at other group facilities.

Polestar was incorporated in 1998 following an £810 million leveraged buyout. Investcorp backed the public-to-private of printing company Watmough, which it subsequently merged with British Printing Company, the group formerly owned by Robert Maxwell.

Polestar is a pan-European printing group whose clients include Associated News, BBC, Express Newspapers, IPC Media and News International.

Associated Newspapers has recently awarded Polestar a five-year contract for three weekly magazine supplements, two of which will be printed at the new Sheffield site when it opens in 2005.

The company previously had to restructure its debt in 2001, when high yield bonds in the company were traded at 20 percent of face value. The company restructured £140 million of non-investment grade debt at the time.

Established in 1982, Investcorp has offices in Bahrain, London and New York and has since completed transactions worth a total of $25 billion.

Earlier this month, Investcorp acquired APCOA Parking, a European parking management operator for an undisclosed sum. In May, managing director Philip Yea left Investcorp to become the first external chief executive of pan European private equity firm 3i.