Quilvest sells watchmaker to Castik

The Paris-headquartered firm sold its stake in Acrotec Group to Castik Capital, which closed its debut fund last year.

Paris-headquartered Quilvest Private Equity has sold its stake in Acrotec Group to Castik Capital in a deal valuing the business at around CHF 280 million (€257 million; $292 million), according to a statement from the firm.

Swiss group Acrotec is an independent supplier of components for the Swiss luxury watch market, producing precision parts such as shock absorbers, oscillating weights and spring barrels. The group also serves several other industrial end markets, such as automotive, aerospace, medtech and telecommunications, in which the manufacturing techniques and precision parts expertise derived from the watch business are applicable.

Quilvest became a cornerstone shareholder in a CHF 30 million deal in 2012, as reported by Private Equity International. At the time the group consisted of four specialist divisions and had an annual turnover of CHF 70 million.

Quilvest declined to comment on the return generated by the sale.

During the course of Quilvest’s ownership the group has more than doubled its sales, broken into new markets and enlarged its product offerings, the firm said.

The group completed seven add-on acquisitions, including: STS, which specialises in coating services for watch parts; DJC, which produces precision turned parts for the automotive market; high-precision turned parts specialist Mu-DEC; Petitpierre, an automation solutions provider to watch manufacturers; and Precipro, which has gold machining expertise.

Last summer Luxembourg-based Castik Capital closed its debut fund, European Private Investment Club (EPIC I) on €1 billion, as reported by PEI.

The fund has only six investors and will make a maximum of five investments. Fund LPs will not have any input over investment decisions and the fund will operate as a standard blind pool. However, EPIC will provide information on its portfolio on a more regular and detailed basis than a typical quarterly overview and annual meeting, Castik investment partner Michael Phillips told PEI.

EPIC is targeting European headquartered companies in transactions of between €300 million and €1 billion in which it will invest €100 million to €250 million of equity and hold for up to ten years.

Acrotec is Castik’s second investment from the fund, having made its debut investment in water dispenser company Waterlogic in January 2015, which was formerly listed on the AIM market.

Since acquisition Waterlogic has made eight add-on investments, which have more than doubled the size of the company, Phillips told PEI.

“We’re looking for fragmented industries where we can do a real consolidation to create a market leader, and ideally a company that operates in a growing market,” Phillips said.

“Acrotec has many of the same characteristics [as Waterlogic]. The luxury watch market is a long-term steadily-growing industry, the supplier base to the luxury watch brands is highly fragmented, and the necessary investments going forward are increasing.”