Ironbridge secures A$170m Australia exit

The sale of Global Renewables will be the firm’s second divestment of a waste-related company this year. 

Ironbridge Capital, an Australia- and New Zealand-focused private equity firm, has exited its investment in Global Renewables, an Australian waste recovery business, according to a joint statement from the firms. Palisade Investment Partners, an infrastructure fund manager, will now take over the business.

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed, but a source close to the matter confirmed to Private Equity International that the total deal was worth about A$170 million (€113 million; $154 million).

Ironbridge joint chief executive and founding partner, Neil Broekhuizen, said in the statement that Ironbridge was “very happy” with its investment in GRL.

“We have supported [CEO] David [Singh] and his management team across several capital investments which have increased plant capacity and materially increased profitability since 2010. We are confident that we are delivering a robust business to the next owners and pleased that we have delivered strong returns for our investors.”

The deal comes after Ironbridge sold another investment in the waste management arena to Hong Kong conglomerate Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings, in a NZ$500 million (€297 million; $405 million) deal in January this year.

Ironbridge first invested in EnviroWaste, the New Zealand-based waste management business, in 2007, and exited at a multiple of 10x EBITDA for the financial year ending 30 June 2012, the firm said earlier.

The two sizeable exits are welcome news for the firm as it considers launching its next private equity vehicle in the coming months.

Ironbridge is said to be targeting up to $1 billion for its next vehicle, but will offer LPs a hybrid structure allowing existing LPs to exit their positions in its first fund or continue on as investors in the next vehicle, which will continue to manage some assets from the first, media reports said earlier.

Ironbridge could not be reached for comment by press time.

The firm has struggled with some of its portfolio investments in its first two funds. In June, Ironbridge-owned New Zealand media company MediaWorks was placed in receivership with financial advisory firm KordaMentha as it struggles with an overwhelming debt burden, according to earlier statements from KordaMentha and MediaWorks.

Ironbridge acquired MediaWorks in 2007 for NZ$551 million (€299 million; $407 million at the time) excluding debt, or NZ$727 million including debt, PEI reported earlier. The deal represented a 49 percent premium over MediaWorks’ closing price of NZ$1.63 a share on 20 October 2006, the day before Canadian media owner CanWest revealed its decision to reconsider its ownership in business.  

The company has now been placed in a receivership, with media reporting that the private equity owners and bankers could not agree on a refinancing deal.