Permira buys Italian tiles

Permira and Private Equity Partners have acquired a 33 percent stake in an Italian tile manufacturer for an undisclosed sum.

Marazzi Group, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of ceramic tiles, has sold 28 percent of its share capital to pan-European buyout firm Permira and a further 5 percent to Italian merchant bank Private Equity Partners. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Permira made its investment from the €3.3 billion Permira Europe II Fund. The transaction was led by the founder of the firm's Italian office Paolo Colonna who said in a statement: “Permira Europe II is making a ‘minority’ investment in recognition of Marazzi’s position as world leader, to support Mr Marazzi and management in the process of globalisation.”

The Marazzi Group’s turnover for the first half of 2004 was approximately €408 million ($521 million). The group posted earnings before income tax, depreciation and amortisation of €58 million in the same period, up 30 percent on the same period from the previous year. In 2003, the firm had a turnover of €750 million.

The group has 18 operating plants and over 4,000 employees and plans to expand in markets including the US, Russia and China.

Joining the company’s board of directors will be Permira’s Colonna and Nicola Volpi, alongside Fabio Buttignon who led the transaction for Private Equity Partners.

The Milan-headquartered merchant bank manages the JP Morgan Italian Fund III and is headed up by Fabio Sattin and Giovanni Campolo.

The Marazzi Group was advised by law firm Caretti e Associati and Simmons & Simmons acted for the financial investors.

Having closed its third fund in October 2003 on €5.1 billion, Permira currently has over €11 billion under management. The firm has 90 professionals operating in offices across Europe and New York.