Wendel set to buy Materis

Agreement has been reached between vendor LBO France and Wendel Investissement just a few weeks after Eurazeo pulled out of talks to buy the building materials company.

Listed French investment firm Wendel Investissement has announced that it has entered into an exclusive agreement with LBO France to buy buildings materials company Materis.
 
Wendel is offering €1.02 billion ($1.23 billion) for the entire equity of Materis, corresponding to an enterprise value of approximately €2 billion, or 8.1x the EBITDA forecast for 2005, according to Wendel.
 
Wendel will invest approximately €400 million, with the remainder financed by bank debt. The firm, headed up by CEO Jean Bernard Lafonta, invests the personal wealth of the Wendel family.
 
Wendel was not immediately available for comment.
 
A number of private equity firms have run the rule over Materis during the last few months. In addition to press reports of interest from BC Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and PAI Partners, Paris-listed private equity firm Eurazeo announced that it had begun exclusive talks with LBO France in early December. No terms were disclosed at the time, and Eurazeo announced that it ended the talks a few weeks later – declining to elaborate on its decision.
 

Jean Bernard Lafonta, CEO, Wendel Investissement

LBO France acquired Materis from CVC Capital Partners, Advent International and The Carlyle Group in September 2003 for €1.1 billion. The consortium originally bought Materis in January 2001 from French construction materials company Lafarge.
 
Materis manufactures specialty chemicals for the construction sector as well as decorative paints, mortar, calcium aluminates and adjuvants for concrete and cement. The company has almost 7,500 employees and generated sales of approximately €1.5 billion in 2005.
 
Materis is not the first company to change hands between Wendel and LBO France in recent times. Last October, Wendel sold steel abrasives group Wheelabrator Allevard to LBO France for approximately €415 million.