Stirling makes film technology acquisition

Citigroup-backed European private equity firm Stirling Square has acquired Saurer’s Ionbond Group in an MBO, backed by €55m of senior and mezzanine debt.

Stirling Square Capital Partners, the London-headquartered European mid-market private equity firm has acquired thin film surface technology company Ionbond Group from Saurer AG.

Augusta & Co, the London-based merchant bank advised Stirling on debt financing for the acquisition, structuring a €55 million ($66 million) senior and mezzanine acquisition finance facility with a syndicate of three lenders. Stirling’s equity tranche in the company was not disclosed.

Swiss-headquartered Ionbond supplies advanced coating services and equipment in the film surface technology arena and has 350 employees in global centres including the UK, US, Canada and Singapore. The company generated approximately €50 million in sales last year.

Stirling Square focuses on opportunities in the European middle market and is currently investing its inaugural vehicle, which is backed by a $250 million cornerstone investment from financial services company Citigroup.

Commenting on the firm's capital structure, partner Martin Calderbank said: 'Although we have never been in formal fundraising mode, we have received many approaches from potential investors on both a fund and deal by deal basis.  We are flexibly structured to accomodate both fund and deal by deal investments.  We do therefore advise some money in addition to the Citigroup investment and are open to manage more.'

Targeting European deals in the €50 – €500 million range, Stirling is managed by six partners: Stefano Bonfiglio, Martin Calderbank, Stuyvesant Comfort, Jakob Förschner, Gregorio Napoleone and Bolaji Odunsi.

The firm puts particular emphasis on its “strong local European expertise” and cites Germany, Italy, Scandinavia, the UK and France as key target markets.