LBO France eyes Exxelia sale to IK

The deal value is likely to be between €250m and €300m, according to a source familiar with the matter 

Paris-based LBO France has entered exclusive negotiations with IK Investment Partners, a pan-European firm, to sell Exxelia Group, a manufacturer of components used in the medical, railway, defence and oil sectors, according to a statement.

Financial details of the transaction were undisclosed, but the deal value will range between €250 million and €300 million, according to a source familiar with the matter. IK declined to comment, while LBO France was unable to respond to a request for comment by press time.

Exxelia, based in Paris, develops and manufactures customised components for high-tech applications including capacitors, inductors, filters and sensors. Last year, the business generated total revenues of €115 million. The group, which employs approximately 1,200 employees across eight subsidiaries, operates in Europe, the US, Asia and Africa.

LBO France acquired Exxelia in 2010 from Qualium Investissement, a French private equity firm for an undisclosed amount.

Under LBO France’s ownership, Exxelia has supported the company in its international development through strategic build-ups of France-based Temex and Dearborn, a Flordia-based business. Exxelia’s turnover grew to €115 million in 2013 from €74 million in 2010.

In March, LBO France completed a €175 million debt refinancing at Exxelia, consisting of €45 million of mezzanine and €130 million of senior debt, the firm said.

IK will aim to “strengthening the group’s position further in the US as well as other strategic markets in Europe and Asia,” Dan Soudry, a partner at IK, said in the statement.

Exxelia will be the fifth investment by IK’s VII Fund, which closed just below €1.4 billion in October 2013. It has also used that vehicle to invest in Hansen Protection, a Norwegian specialist in survival suit rental; Ampelmann, a company offering products to the offshore energy sector in the Nederlands, VPS, a fuel management services business; and Ramudden, a specialist provider of temporary traffic control services, which IK bought in April.

LBO France has been busy selling – having sold stakes in Maisons du Monde, Médi-Partenaires, Poult and Labeyrie in recent months as it attempts to raise €1 billion for its next buyout fund, White Knight IX.
The firm’s White Knight VIII fund, a 2007-vintage is fully invested.

However, last month, the firm entered into exclusive negotiations with listed French investment group Wendel to acquire Chryso, a cement business division of Materis, a French special chemicals business, for approximately €290 million. This investment will be made using capital from White Knight IX, according to a source familiar with the matter, which may hold a “technical close” ahead of the first close in order to fund this deal, the source said at the time.