Legrand boosts Wendel

Profits and net asset value rose at the French family-owned investment company Wendel Investissement on the back of its flotation of Legrand, an electrical equipment company.

Net assets at Wendel Investissement, a French buyout house, increased by almost a third in the first half after the company reaped profits from the €972m ($1.2bn) float of Legrand, an electrical equipment company, in April.

Net profits lifted by 31% to hit €197m. The profits came despite €740m invested in the first six months of the year, includuing the takeover of Deutsch, a US haulage company and Wendel’s first acquisition outside of Europe.

The company’s assets rose to €5.2bn or €95 per share, an increase of 29% from €75 per share at the same period last year.

Jean-Bernard Lafonta, chairman of the executive board at Wendel said: “Having increased its net asset value by 26% annually since its creation, the group continues to exceed its objectives at an average annual growth rate of more than 15% in net asset value.”

Wendel said it has €1.6bn to spend on acquisitions, from a €1bn loan facility and €600m of available cash.

In May, Wendel bought Materis, a French building materials group. Other buyouts this year include Stahl, a leather chemicals company and AVR, a Dutch waste management group.

About 80% of the shareholders in the listed part of Wendel are US and UK institutions. The remainder is owned by the wealthy French Wendel family.