Solid Capital makes 17x from Dutch energy

The Dutch venture firm formerly known as NeSBIC Technology has sold Oxxio to UK gas supply company Centrica for €137m, less than three months after becoming independent.

Utrecht, Netherlands-based Solid Capital Partners has sold Dutch energy supplier Oxxio BV to Windsor, UK-based gas supply company Centrica for €137 million ($167 million).

The transaction marked an impressive 17x return on Solid’s original €2 million equity investment. The firm also advanced a loan of the same amount to the company.

The investment in the Oxxio startup was made from the NeSBIC CTE Fund II in 2000 and since then the company’s revenues have grown from €2 million to sales of €177 million and an EBITDA of €7.2 million in 2004.

Most international technology funds see the Benelux market as a Mickey Mouse market.

Robert Wilhem, managing director, Solid Capital Partners

Solid Capital is the new name for NeSBIC Technology Ventures, which was spun out of Belgian-Dutch banking group Fortis in March.

Solid is in the process of raising a €75 million fund for later-stage venture and expansion capital investments in information and communications technology (ICT) companies in Benelux.

Solid is headed up by managing director Robert Wilhelm, who launched the NeSBIC CTE operation in 1997. The management team also comprises partners Floris van Alkemade and Herman DeLatte.

Robert Wilhelm, managing director, Solid Capital Partner

In a recent interview with PEO, Wilhelm said that although the new, independent entity would follow the same sector strategy as NeSBIC CTE, Solid Capital would focus solely on the Benelux region rather than the slightly wider European remit of its predecessor.

Speaking to PEO today, Wilhelm said: ’After three or four gloomy years, we are starting to see the results of all the hard work.’

On the levels of competition in the Benelux region he added: ’There are only three active players in the region. Most international funds see the Benelux market as a Mickey Mouse market – smaller European countries are not well served by international technology funds. They wouldn’t know where to start looking for deals in the Netherlands.’

Solid is hoping to hold a €40 million first closing of the Solid ICT Capital Fund III sometime in the summer.