Unitas completes 3.5x exit

The Hong Kong based-firm has exited vacuum pump maker Edwards Group.

Hong Kong-based Unitas Capital has completed the sale of engineering company Edwards Group to Atlas Copco, according to a statement from the firm. Last year, Atlas Copco had agreed to buy the company for $1.2 billion.

The exit multiple was 3.5x, according to a source with knowledge of the deal. 

Unitas declined to comment on financial details.

UK-based Edwards is a manufacturer of vacuum products and abatement systems for a variety of industries. The firm acquired Edwards from Linde Group in 2007 together with CCMP Capital in a 50/50 deal valued at £505 million (€606 million; $825 million).

During the holding period, Unitas assisted the company with operational improvements, including shifting its production footprint to factories in Asia and Eastern Europe. Edwards increased its EBIT margins from 8 percent in 2007 to 17 percent in 2013, according to the statement.

In April last year, Unitas completed a trade sale exit of Australian auto replacement parts distributor Exego Group in an $800 million sale to US-based Genuine Parts for an estimated total of $950 million over two transactions, Private Equity International reported earlier. Unitas said in a past statement that its operational work helped to double Exego’s EBITDA.

Four of Unitas' eight partners have corporate experience in sectors that the firm focuses on: industrial and consumer/retail, according to the firm. In addition, the operational partners are compensated with carry: “[Our] operating guys work on deals from origination through to exit, and everyone has carry across the fund,” John Lewis, chief executive officer, told PEI in a past interview.

With offices in China, Hong Kong and Korea, Unitas Capital has $4 billion in capital commitments under management. It was founded in 1999 and until 2009 was known as CCMP Capital Asia. The firm focuses on buyouts and growth equity investments in the branded consumer, retail and industrial sectors.