LBO France eyes €290m cement deal

It will be the first deal from White Knight IX fund, which aims to raise €1bn

Paris-based LBO France has entered into exclusive negotiations with listed French investment group Wendel to acquire Chryso, a cement business division of Materis, a French special chemicals business.

LBO France has offered approximately €290 million for Chryso, which is approximately 8x EBITDA, according to a Wendel statement.

Chrys, which provides specialty chemicals for construction companies, has a presence in more than 70 countries. In 2013, it had sales of €239 million, 40 percent of which came from products that were launched less than five years ago.

LBO France will acquire the business using capital from its latest fund, White Knight IX, according to a source familiar with the matter. That vehicle, which is attempting to raise €1 billion, may hold a technical close ahead of the first close in order to fund this deal, the source said.

LBO France declined to comment on fundraising.

The firm knows Chryso well, having owned an 84 percent stake in parent company Materis between November 2003 and May 2006. It bought the business from CVC Capital Partners, Advent International and The Carlyle Group in September 2003 for €1.1 billion. In February 2006, it sold it to Wendel netted LBO France’s White Knight VI, a 2.9x gross multiple, according to the source.

LBO France has been busy selling — having sold stakes in Maisons du Monde, Médi-Partenaires, Poult and Labeyrie in recent months. The firm’s White Knight VIII fund, a 2007-vintage is fully invested.