LBO France acquires orthopaedic specialist

The deal marks the firm's fourth this year from Hexagone III as it gears up to raise a successor fund

LBO France, one of France’s oldest private equity firms, has acquired Fournitures Hospitalières Group, a specialist in orthopaedic prostheses, from previous shareholders including Bpifrance and Matignon Investissement et Conseil, according to a statement from the firm.

LBO France, along with co-investors, has acquired the company from its Hexagone Fund III, a 2010-vintage small-cap vehicle which closed on €154 million. The fund, which focuses on companies with enterprise values of less than €100 million, has made four acquisitions this year and is now invested in nine companies.

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. LBO France declined to comment beyond the statement.

Based in France with a worldwide distribution network and a subsidiary in the United States, FH Group produces a range of prostheses, including hips and knees, and has developed effective products for shoulders and feet, as well as ligaments for sports medicine. The company has around 180 employees and posted more than €30 million in sales in 2013, according to LBO France.

“FH Group is a player in the excellence of the French orthopaedic profession, anchored with close proximity to the medical community and an ongoing innovation strategy,” Hexagone director Arthur Bernardin said.

“We will help the group accelerate its international development, enabling it to become a world leader in orthopaedics.”

In September LBO France acquired an 80 percent stake in French cosmetics and skin care company Payot in a deal understood to value the company at between €30 million and €40 million. This year Hexagone III also acquired a 58 percent stake in Italy-based audio business Fine Sounds and a 72.8 percent stake in Vaglio group, which operates limestone mines for the construction sector.

It is understood that Hexagone III is close to being fully invested, and that LBO France is likely to launch fundraising for Hexagone IV in early 2015.

At the end of October, LBO France used capital from its mid-cap White Knight funds, which focus on companies with an enterprise value between €100 million and €2.5 billion, to acquire Chryso, a construction chemicals specialist, from Materis for €285 million alongside its present management team. The firm had a major shareholding in Materis from November 2003 to May 2006, when the firm sold the building materials company to Wendel in a deal valuing the company at €2.1 billion.

It is unclear which White Knight fund LBO France used to make the investment in Chryso.