Navis exits first China investment

The pan-Asian firm has sold 100% of mining equipment business Trio to a trade buyer

Navis Capital Partners has sold 100 percent of its portfolio company Trio Engineered Products to a strategic buyer, although the financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

London-listed engineering firm Weir Group will acquire the mining equipment business, which has its main manufacturing facilities in Shanghai, according to a statement.

Navis bought its controlling stake in Trio in 2009, as its first China-based investment, and has since worked with the management team to expand its market presence, as well as driving new branding and marketing initiatives.

The business achieved a five-year compound annual growth rate of 20 percent, with EBITDA increasing about three times over Navis’ ownership period. The company paid dividends every year.

“Trio was our first standalone investment in China, and the acquisition was subject to intense internal debate as it was made so soon after the onset of the global financial crisis. We were fortunate to have already invested in a similar industrial space, having acquired a comparable company, Linatex, a few years prior, which we also subsequently sold to Weir,” Chow Yin Tan, senior partner at Navis in Kuala Lumpur and Shanghai, said.

Nicholas Bloy, managing partner of Navis, added: “Trio was an excellent investment for Navis and exiting to Weir continues both a long tradition of Navis selling its businesses to strategic trade buyers, and an emerging tradition to sell to Weir itself.”

“We have always believed that trade buyers make the best partners for our companies after our period of ownership, and this allows us to exit our investments cleanly, even amid periods of public market uncertainty. It was also great to work alongside Weir again – Weir is a demanding, sophisticated but scrupulously fair acquirer.”

Navis, which is in the midst of completing a $1.3 billion fundraise for its seventh vehicle, now has about $5 billion in assets under management. The firm invests solely in buyout transactions in Asia Pacific, with a strong biased to companies that have expansion potential into Southeast Asia.