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LBO France invests in Schlumberger metering assets

The French buyout firm has acquired a 90 per cent stake in Actaris, a new company comprising the multi-energy metering business of Schlumberger, the US oil group.

LBO France, the Paris-based leveraged buyout specialist, has invested in the MBO of the metering products and systems business of Schlumberger Resource Management Services.

A management team lead by former Schlumberger executives Jean-Paul Bize and Clermont Matton is buying all of the Schlumberger metering assets except the electricity and water meters in North America.

To manage the assets Bize and Matton will be heading up a new company called Actaris and, alongside other employees, own 10 per cent of the equity. LBO France owns 90 per cent of the business.

It is not known how much Actaris has agreed to pay for the assets. LBO France will provide one third of the funding by way of an equity capital injection. The Royal Bank of Scotland and ING Barings are arranging debt financing for the rest.

Actaris has a 25 per cent share of the global metering market. The company has 8,200 employees and in 2000 generated a turnover of $750m. The group is active in more than 30 countries with a strong presence in Europe, Asia and South America.