Navis makes 2.2x on Australia exit

The pan-regional private equity firm has sold Callidus Process Solutions to a Dutch trade buyer, having expanded the Australian business into Southeast Asia and Africa.

Navis Capital Partners has exited Australian portfolio company Callidus Process Solutions after just 30 months of ownership, according to a company statement. The firm sold the business to Dutch trade buyer Pon Holdings for an undisclosed amount. 

Although Navis did not reveal any financial details, an LP in the fund told Private Equity International the deal was valued at between $75 million and $100 million, gaining the firm a 2.2x multiple and a 35 percent IRR. 

Navis said the business’ EBITDA grew by 70 percent since it first invested in the business in 2010. The firm had taken a controlling stake in the business for between $30 million and $40 million, the LP said. 

Callidus produces very specialised valves that are used in nickel mines. Under Navis’ ownership, the business expanded into Southeast Asia and Africa, both regions housing a large number of nickel mines, according to Nicholas Bloy, co-founder of Navis, told PEI.

“[Callidus] was already on an international track, but we certainly worked with them to help them identify each and every new nickel deposit around the world,” he explained. “Southeast Asia and Africa are really where the new nickel mines are being developed.”

Navis pre-dominantly invests in Southeast Asia and its strategy in Australia, where it first invested in 2003, is to target good companies that have expansion potential in Southeast Asia and that can then be sold to trade buyers. 

For Callidus, Navis used its network in the region to find and implement management with the specific expertise needed in the oil and gas industry to help expand the business in Southeast Asia. “There are quite a lot of expatriates in Southeast Asia who have come out of the oil and gas industry from Australia, New Zealand or [Great Britain] who have developed this niche expertise,” Bloy explained. 

The conviction [we have] about a strategic being the exit [route] loops all the way back to the deal selection on day one.

Nicholas Bloy, co-founder, Navis Capital Partners

He also emphasised the firm’s strategy of exiting solely to trade or financial buyers. Navis has sold about 24 businesses, with 80 percent going to trade buyers and 20 percent to financial buyers. 

“The conviction [we have] about a strategic being the exit [route] loops all the way back to the deal selection on day one. The whole logic is based on whether this industry is acquisitive, does the company have a distinctive competitive position and is there a strategic that we might already be able to identify who we know will want to buy this company when we want to sell it.”

Navis Capital Partners is a pan-regional private equity firm based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The firm has about $3 billion in assets under management and is currently investing from its $1.2 billion Fund VI, according to PEI’s Research & Analytics division.