Apax, AEA and Franke vie for vending machine producer N&W — Reuters

(Reuters) – Italy’s N&W Global Vending [NWGLV.UL] has received a handful of indicative bids from buyout funds and industry players looking to take control of one of Europe’s largest vending machine makers, four sources familiar with the matter said.

London-based buyout fund Apax submitted an offer last week and is vying with U.S. private equity firm AEA Investors and Swiss kitchen equipment manufacturer Franke, two of the sources said.

N&W is held by private equity funds Investcorp INVB.BH and Equistone, who value it at around 650 million euros ($704 million), or 8.7 times its 75 million euros EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) over the past 12 months, sources said.

But the company’s debt load of around 600 million euros, or eight times EBITDA, is one of the main hurdles to a sale and has already put off a number of Western private equity funds which were initially looking to get involved, the sources said.

Spokesmen at N&W Global Vending, Investcorp, Equistone, Apax[APAX.UL] and Franke Group declined to comment. Representatives at AEA Investors were not available for comment.

N&W’s adviser Goldman Sachs (GS.N) expects binding offers in June, one of the sources said, pointing to strong interest from Apax.

The company has debt maturities coming due in November and May next year and aims to be sold by then, two sources said.

However, the vending machine sector has been a tough sell in the European leveraged debt market recently after several restructurings and distressed situations.

Lenders took control of UK maker Autobar in a high-profile restructuring last year.

While Swiss firm Selecta managed to refinance its debt around the same time, its owners effectively handed over around half the equity to U.S. buyout fund KKR (KKR.N) through a highly structured payment-in-kind loan. [ID: nIFR4lgS0H]

Headquartered in Valbrembo, near the northern Italian town of Bergamo, N&W has been owned by Investcorp since 2008. At the time Investcorp teamed up with Barclays Private Equity, which was later absorbed by Equistone in 2011.

N&W Global Vending was formed in 2000 through the merger of Denmark’s Wittenborg and Italy’s Necta.

The company, which employs 1,700, has around 40 percent of the European vending machine market and operates manufacturing plants in Italy, Denmark and China.