EUROPE IN BRIEF

Japanese chemicals producer Mitsubishi Rayon will acquire Charterhouse Capital portfolio company Lucite International, an acrylics specialist, for $1.6 billion in cash by purchasing 100 percent of the company's 9.6 million outstanding shares. London-based buyout firm Charterhouse acquired an 81.6 percent stake in UK-based Lucite for €750 million in 1999. UK petrochemical company Ineos owns 11.5 percent of the company and Lucite management and employees own the majority of remaining shares.

HEALTH MATTERS
European mid-market investor Duke Street has completed the €217 million acquisition of French laboratory group Bionmis from the company's founder and chief executive Jean-Louis Oger. Bionmis employs 1,600 staff and generates revenues of more than €220 million. According to the company's website it is the largest laboratory in France, specialising in medical pathology services.

London-based Graphite Capital has committed a funding package worth £53 million (€66 million; $83 million) to develop Willowbrook Healthcare, a new company formed in partnership with care home entrepreneurs John Strowbridge, Ian Matthews and Roger Storey. The three-strong management team has twice before been backed by Graphite at Optimum Care and Avery Healthcare, which was sold to Southern Cross in 2007 for £96.5 million.

UK mid-market private equity firm August Equity has launched a buyand-build play in the UK home care market with two acquisitions in the sector. Platform company Enara is a West London-based provider of private and social services-based home care for the elderly and adults with special needs. August has also purchased complex care provider First Call as an add-on for an undisclosed amount. It provides home care for children and adults with injuries to the spine and brain.

MID-MARKET MANOUEVRES
iEurope Capital has earned a 2.3 times return from Slovenian electronics manufacturer ATech elektronika. ATech provides design, manufacturing and support services for a variety of products, including motor controls, connectivity products, and pellet and firewood heating systems. With offices in New York and Budapest, iEurope targets Central and Eastern European companies in the technology, IT, media, consumer products, wellness, energy and environmental sectors.

European private equity firm Zeus Private Equity has completed a secondary buyout of infrastructure services business MJ Quinn. Exact transaction details were not released, however the company places current turnover at £30 million. Zeus bought out fellow private equity firms 3i and Merseyside Special Investment Fund. 3i is thought to have had an approximately 70 percent stake, according to media reports. Quinn, based in Liverpool, provides electrical contracting, fire protection and communication services. It has a contract with the London Underground among others.

UK mid-market firm Dunedin has backed the £23.5 million (€30 million; $41 million) management buyout of Rathbone Trust International, the Jersey-based trust business of 250-year old asset management group Rathbones. Dunedin takes a “significant minority stake” in the business, which will operate under the name Hawksford International, while the remainder will be owned by the management team.

UK private equity firm 3i has sold its 28.5 percent stake in trucking company Transports Alloin to Swiss logistics group Kuhne + Nagel. The firm did not provide financial details. 3i purchased its shares in the family-owned French transport and logistics company in 2006, with revenue in the last two years growing by 50 percent to nearly €300 million. 3i designed a structure enabling Jean-Louis Alloin to take control of the company with 53 percent of the shares, with management holding 18.5 percent.

CONSUMER FACING
Swiss-based venture and growth capital firm Index Ventures has invested €15 million in global matchmaking site b€2. Index partner Dom Vidal will take a seat on the board of b€2, which launched its first website in Germany in 2004 and has since grown to 12 million members in 34 countries. Vidal said in a statement that b€2's services represent a sizeable growth opportunity and pointed to the company's success in multiple international markets.

Miura Private Equity will invest €30 million in Atrezzo, a company that provides mannequins and accessories to fashion brands, as the first investment out of its €100m debut fund. The investment includes financing from banks Caixa Galicia and Deutsche Bank. Miura said the investment was the first step in the creation of a European-based visual merchandising group focused on the fashion sector.

UK mid-market firm Inflexion Private Equity has exited its 2004 investment in in a sale to Norwegian dairy company, Tine, for an undisclosed amount. The exit represents a multiple of more than two times Inflexion's initial investment and an internal rate of return in the mid-20 percent range, the firm said in a statement. Ilchester produces three of the top five blended cheese brands in the UK, including Applewood, Mexicana and Five Counties.

Virtual mobile network operator Blyk has secured €40 million funding from repeat investors Goldman Sachs and French venture firm Sofinnova, as well as a group of individual investors. Blyk will use the funding to support its ongoing operations and international expansion. The company currently operates in the UK and has plans to roll its service out in the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium and Germany.

21 Centrale Partners has acquired Biopack, a perfume sample manufacturer, to strengthen the samples division of French packaging company Nord Est-Ileos. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed. In December 2007, 21 Group purchased Nord Est-Ileos along with its management and Geneva-based investment firm Harwanne.