UBS Capital, the private equity unit of the Swiss bank, is planning to sell the lawnmower and garden products it built up in 1999 in a deal that will value it at around E500m.
The firm has appointed Morgan Stanley to advise on the sale of Global Garden Products, which was formed when UBS Capital completed the merger of four European manufacturers of gardening equipment.
UBS Capital acquired the majority of Swedish lawnmower maker Stiga in December 1999 with a view to consolidating the European garden equipment industry. Stiga was subsequently merged with Castelgarden, Alpina and Mountfield during 2000. The transactions were run by UBS Capital’s offices in London and Milan.
Financial buyers are among the interest parties in acquiring the business. According to a report in The Times, French private equity house PAI Management and US buyout firm Bain Capital have indicated that they intend to bid for the business.
UBS Capital has been quiet on the M&A front during the past twelve months, although the firm did report a successful exit on Dutch mobility products group Welzorg, which it sold to Industri Kapital in November 2002 for more than E150m. In February, UBS reported that the unit made a pre-tax loss in the final quarter of 2002 of SFr362m (E246m). Overall, pre-tax losses in 2002 stood at SFr1.76bn (E1.2bn), an increase of 70 per cent on the SFr1bn on 2001. The bank said it could not rule out further negative contributions ‘over the next several quarters’.
In February, UBS Capital said it would continue to focus on managing its existing portfolio and capitalising on exit opportunities.