PPM sells CCTV distributor for £128m

The European mid-market buyout firm sells French CCTV business UDL for a money multiple of almost 4x.

PPM Capital, the private equity arm of UK insurer Prudential, has agreed the sale of Upperpoint Distribution Limited (UDL), a British distributor of closed-circuit television cameras and alarms, to Close Brothers Private Equity (CBPE) for an enterprise value of £128 million (€188 million; $226 million).

The sale to CBPE had generated a money multiple of nearly four times the original investment, Adam Maidment, an investment director at PPM Capital, told PEO.

Mark Perryman, an investment director at CBPE, said that the transactions was one of the largest deals the firm has done so far. The investment was made from Fund VII, which closed on £360 million in March 2004, he added.

Debt facilities for the acquisition will be provided by HSBC. PPM was advised by Credit Suisse First Boston, CBPE by Rothschild.

Close Brothers had been competing for UDL with Banc of America, US manufacturing group Honeywell and Gardiner, a French electronic security equipment distributor owned by private equity firm Electra Partners, according to press reports.

PPM Capital originally acquired UDL, known at the time in the UK as Norbain, through a £43 million public-to-private transaction in September 1999. In 2001, the business was demerged into its separate distribution and manufacturing arms, the latter of which was sold to management in October 2005.

Maidment said that the decision to sell the distribution business now came down to timing. “We believe that there are significant growth opportunities for UDL either through acquisition or international expansion, but we felt that that would likely take another four years to achieve and, after six years of ownership, we felt that it made sense for someone else to capitalise on that,” he said.

UDL, which operates under the Norbain brand in the UK, specialises in supplying CCTV equipment covering third party brands as well as its own brand Vista. The business generated revenues of £128 million in its last financial year, employs 350 staff and has operations in the UK, Portugal and South Africa.

PPM Capital manages in excess of €2 billion ($2.39 billion) in funds and has 26 investment professionals operating out of offices in London, Munich and Paris. Other divestments by the firm in 2005 include the €393 million sale of Barracuda Group to Charterhouse Capital Partners in July; the €765 million sale of Astron Group to RR Donnelley in April; and Finnish Chemicals was sold to Kemira Oyj in February for €345 million.