Motion Equity Partners books 2.2x return

The Paris-headquartered firm, formerly known as Cognetas, has secured its first exit since the firm’s rebranding.

Motion Equity Partners (MEP) has agreed to sell Ixetic, a producer of high-performance pumps for the automotive sector, it said in a statement. With the sale, which is understood to have a deal value of €308 million and a return multiple of 2.2x, the firm has secured its first exit from the €1.25 billion Fund II established in 2005. 

In December last year, MEP tried to sell Tokheim, a French petrol pump manufacturer, but pulled the auction after three final round bids for the company did not meet its preferred price.

The firm, formerly known as Cognetas, rebranded itself as Motion Equity Partners in April this year in a bid to shake of negative publicity following the departure of the firm’s managing partner and founder, Nigel McConnell.  He left Cognetas in 2011 due to “strategic differences”. 

In addition, MEP closed its office in Frankfurt and reduced its office in London and shifted its investment focus to French and Italian markets.

Cedric Rays, a partner at Motion Equity Partners, told Private Equity International: “After the restructuring of our fund 15 months ago, the plan has always been to first demonstrate to our investors that we are managing the portfolio properly. This exit shows we are doing a proper job and it was indeed a good idea to let us find the right timing and the right buyer in order to optimise the exit”, he said.  

The firm’s €1.25 billion Cognetas Fund II has about €200 million of un-deployed capital left for add-on acquisitions for the remaining six investments. The majority of these investments are based in France and Italy.

MEP will be looking to do further exits, although, according to Rays, the firm “is not in a hurry”.  Once the firm has done two or three exits and potentially one or two new deals on a deal-by-deal basis, it will be the right time to go back to the investors about a new strategy for a new fund, which is expected to be in 2014, Rays added.