Montagu makes E125m exit of pharma company

The UK-based private equity firm that earlier this year completed its own buyout from HSBC Group, has completed its first exit as an independent entity.

UK firm Montagu Private Equity today announced it 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.

Montagu backed the E97m management buyout of Risdon from Crown Cork & Seal in March last year. Risdon’s year to December 2002 sales increased to E51.4m, up from E43.5m the previous year, enabling the company to repay a significant proportion of its acquisition debt ahead of schedule.

“The sale of Risdon Pharma represents a significant achievement and is our second successful exit on the French market in 2003, after the sale of Ampafrance in February for E225m,” Denis Leroy and Mathieu Guillemin of Montagu said in a statement. “We are pleased that the strong complementarities between Risdon Pharma and Rexam will allow management to continue growing the company.”

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.