This morning, Apax Partners announced that it would sell its majority stake in IFCO Systems N.V., which creates reusable packaging containers, to the Australian logistics company Brambles Ltd for EUR 13.50 per share.
Munich, November 15, 2010 – Funds advised by Apax Partners (“Apax”) today announce they have agreed to sell their majority stake in IFCO Systems N.V. (“IFCO”) to the Australian logistics company Brambles Limited (“Brambles”) for EUR 13.50 per share. Apax acquired the stake in IFCO Systems in November 2003 through the purchase of shares listed on the Prime Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and announced a voluntary public offer to the remaining free float shareholders in early 2004 for EUR 2.75 per share.
IFCO Systems is one of the world’s leading business service providers for reusable packaging containers (RPC) and pallet management services. The IFCO products replace the traditional cardboard and wood containers that are used to transport fruit and vegetables, with environmentally friendly plastic crates that can each be used up to 100 times.
Since acquiring its majority stake, Apax has worked closely with the management and fully supported the company’s growth strategy. During Apax Funds’ ownership, IFCO Systems significantly expanded its customer base in Europe and the United States and entered the South American market. IFCO Systems acquired the RPC business of CHEP in the US and the RPC business of Steco in Europe in 2006 and 2008.
Since its acquisition by Apax Funds in 2003, IFCO’s turnover grew by an average of 10% per year and its EBITDA rose by an average of 15% per year. Despite significant capital investments to support this growth, the company’s debt levels always remained modest and currently are at levels of approximately 2x EBITDA. Under Apax Funds’ ownership, the number of employees at IFCO Systems increased by 28%.
“Our successful investment in IFCO Systems demonstrates the extensive expertise of Apax Partners in the Business Services area and our team’s ability to identify companies with strong potential and promote their long-term growth. This is a prime example of Apax successfully partnering with a strong management team in one of our core industry sectors. IFCO is a leading player in the eco-friendly reusable packaging sector and Brambles is the ideal partner to maximize and develop its future potential,” said Ralf Gruss, Partner at Apax Partners.
Karl Pohler, CEO of IFCO Systems, added, “For seven years, Apax was a loyal and long-term investor, which the entire management team enjoyed working with to optimize the growth of IFCO. We look forward to a continuation of IFCO´s growth story.”
In recent months, Apax has made a number of new investments which underline its strategy of disciplined investing in companies which benefit from macro and sector growth trends in the firm’s five core industry sectors. These include the British software company Sophos, the Israeli fund managers Psagot, the British logistics specialist for pharmaceutical clinical studies Marken, the American online financial market leader Bankrate, and the leading provider of integrated IT and BPO services in Latin America TIVIT. In all cases, Apax Funds are acting as the sole private equity investor. In the same period Apax Funds have successfully sold all or part of their stakes in Tommy Hilfiger, Bezeq, Promethean World, SMART Technologies, Spectrum Holding Company and rue21. The funds that Apax Partners advises are long-term investors, with an average holding period of more than five years.
Apax was advised in the transaction by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank. The transaction remains subject to certain approval requirements and conditions, inter alia the approval by the cartel authorities.
About Apax Partners
Apax Partners is one of the world’s leading private equity investment groups. It operates across the United States, Europe and Asia and has more than 30 years of investing experience. Funds under the advice and management of Apax Partners globally total around $40 billion. These Funds provide long-term equity financing to build and strengthen world-class companies. Apax Partners Funds invest in companies across its global sectors of Tech & Telecom, Retail & Consumer, Media, Healthcare and Financial & Business Services. For more information visit: www.apax.com.
Merrill Lynch International (“BofA Merrill Lynch”), a subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation, is acting exclusively for Apax in connection with the sale of the majority stake in IFCO and for no one else and will not be responsible to anyone other than Apax for providing the protections afforded to its clients or for providing advice in relation to the sale of the majority stake in IFCO.