Report: Charterhouse makes first Italian foray

The UK firm has bought Italian pharmaceutical group Doc Generici, its second acquisition in less than a month.

Charterhouse Capital Partners has acquired Italian drug maker Doc Generici, according to reports. 

The London headquartered firm is to buy the company from trade players Apotex, Chiesi Pharmaceutici and Zambon, which co-founded the company in 1996. 

No financial details were disclosed for the transaction, but the deal value is reported to be around 2.5x the company’s annual revenues. Doc Generici’s sales stood at around €132 million in 2012, thus giving it an estimated enterprise value of nearly €330 million. 

The debt portion is understood to constitute around 50 percent of the package, with financing provided by HSBC and Intesa Sanpaolo, according to Reuters Italia. 

Doc Generici is one of Italy’s main generic drug suppliers, with a market share of 15.3 percent. The company, which started distributing its products in 2001, has grown on the back of new legislation passed in November that year, when pharmacists became obliged to provide generic drugs instead of more expensive products unless prescriptions did not specify otherwise. 

It is the first company acquired by Charterhouse in Italy, a move that shows the contrasting attitudes recently adopted by buyout firms towards the country. Swiss-headquartered Partners Group absorbed its local partner earlier this month, in a bid to expand its activities in Italy, whilst Advent International closed its Milan office in March. That followed the decision by Apax Partners to shut its own base in the Italian capital at the end of last year. 

Charterhouse’s latest deal is its second sizeable acquisition in less than a month, after it bought Armacell, a German-based manufacturer of insulation material, at the end of April. A former portfolio company of Dubai-based Investcorp, Armacell then reached an enterprise value of more than €500 million. 

Formerly part of HSBC, Charterhouse has around €12.5 billion under management. It is investing from its Fund IX, which closed on €4 billion in 2008.