LBO France completes early Actaris sale

The French private equity house has sold the metering systems manufacturer to Montagu Private Equity less than two year after acquiring the business from Schlumberger.

( UK buyout firm Montagu Private Equity has led the E420m secondary buyout of Actaris from LBO France just 18 months after the French firm bought out the manufacturer of metering systems for E340m.


The deal, which excludes transaction costs and working capital funding, was financed by a combination of institutional equity from Montagu and Actaris management, and senior debt from Mizuho Corporate Finance. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval.


Previously known as Schlumberger-RMS, Actaris was acquired by LBO France from Schlumberger in November 2001. It is the leading global producer of metering systems used to measure utility flows and operates across the water and heat, gas and electricity, residential and industrial sectors.


Actaris generated sales of approximately E650m in the year to December 2002 and an EBITDA of E88m. The company employs more than 6,500 staff and operates plants in more than 30 countries in Europe, South America and Asia.


The management team will remain the same following the deal and will roll over the bulk of its equity participation into the new transaction.


Montagu currently manages a E2bn fund that closed in October 2002, half from former parent global banking group HSBC and half from third-party limited partners. The firm also has another E1bn under management on behalf of HSBC in a legacy portfolio.


Last month, Montagu acquired Marlow Foods, best known as the maker and distributor of meat-substitute Quorn, from AstraZeneca for £70m. The deal was the first for the firm since spinning out under the leadership of Chris Masterson from HSBC in March. HSBC retains a 19.9 per cent equity stake in Montagu.


Montagu sold Risdon Pharma, a Germany and France-based manufacturer of primary plastic packaging for the pharmaceutical industry, to Rexam, the world’s largest maker of drinks cans, for E125m in April.