GSO Takes Control of ALcontrol

LONDON (Reuters) – U.S. investment firm Blackstone (BX.N) took control of British laboratory company ALcontrol on Wednesday, after a restructuring that saw previous owner Candover (CDI.L) lose its investment in the soil testing firm.

Investment funds managed by GSO Capital Partners LP — bought by Blackstone in 2008 — have become ALcontrol’s new majority shareholder following the financial restructuring, ALcontrol said in a statement.

ALcontrol’s debt-laden balance sheet needed to be restructured after a downturn in the British construction industry reduced demand for its soil testing services.

As part of the restructuring deal, GSO has extended a new debt line to support the company’s liquidity, ALcontrol said.

Further details of the restructuring were not disclosed.

Private equity firm Candover acquired ALcontrol from rival Bridgepoint [BRDG.UL] in 2005, backed by more than 200 million euros ($294 million) of debt. But earlier this year Candover wrote down the value of its equity investment in ALcontrol by 14 million pounds ($22.22 million) to 1.6 million pounds.

($1=.6802 Euro)

($1=.6301 Pound) (Reporting by Tom Freke and Zaida Espana; editing by Simon Jessop)