News in brief

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Launched at last

Biffa held a bankers’ meeting for its Montague and GIP-backed buyout on April 22 in London. Last week, arrangers Barclays, Credit Suisse, HBOS, HSBC and RBS launched syndication of £860m of senior and £280m of mezzanine debt backing the deal.

RBS has launched general syndication for senior debt backing Charterhouse Capital Partners LBO of Tunstall. A bank meeting was held in London on April 17, attended by both bank and institutional investors. The debt includes £155m of senior facilities comprising an amortising seven-year term loan

• Bookrunner and co-ordinator JPMorgan, with bookrunners BNP Paribas, Commerzbank and UniCredit, are set to close syndication of the €415m debt backing Paine & Partners buyout of German gas spring manufacturer Stabilus. The deal will close oversubscribed, according to a source close to the situation, on the back of bank support and some commitments from funds.

• MLAs Bank of Ireland, Barclays, Merrill Lynch and RBS are understood to have closed syndication of the £222.5m debt backing the acquisition of IDH by Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity. Syndication was targeted solely at banks.

Industri Kapital has mandated Credit Mutuel-CIC to arrange and bookrun its buyout of ISS Energie and to refinance debt from its acquisition of IDEX Groupe. The deal was funded in the first quarter of 2008 . Syndication has now been launched and a bankers’ meeting is set for Tuesday April 22 in Paris. Prior to launch, BNP Paribas and CADIF both joined. Industri Kapital bought-out IDEX Groupe in 2004. ISS Energie was previously held by ISS Global through ISS Holding France. The combined group will be an independent energy and environment services provider offering services such as the management of collective heating and cooling networks (public and private) as well as the technical maintenance of buildings and third-party management of utilities.

The conservative turn

• Nordic IT business Visma has completed a NKr3.55bn refinancing, through a club of DnB NOR, Nordea and Danske Bank. The deal refinances NKr3.32bn of debt put in place to back HG Capital‘s 2006 buyout

• In the UK, mid-market sponsor Exponent Private Equity has acquired Lowell Holdings, a UK debt purchasing and collection company, from Cabot Square Capital. The deal is understood to have been funded with a 50:50 mix of debt to equity. Senior debt of £100m has been raised through a syndicate of Europe Arab Bank, Lloyds TSB and National Australia Bank. A £30m mezzanine tranche has been provided by GSC Investment and DE Shaw.

• Talks between Apax and German luxury fashion house Escada have ended without a deal that would have seen the sponsor take a stake in the business. In a statement Escada said that Apax had informed it that it was not pursuing its plans for an equity investment. Apax cited “the recent evolution of the stock price and the weakness of the international financial markets”, saying these “do not give a basis for pursuing the project”. Shares in Escada fell to €11.55 on Thursday after the announcement, giving a market capitalisation of €268m and implying an enterprise value of €444m, according to ThomsonReuters data.

Goldman Sachs and UniCredit (HVB) are still in the market with debt backing Bain Capital‘s buy-out of Bavaria Yachtbau, Germany’s biggest maker of yachts. Leads are understood to be struggling to get the deal, structured and priced pre-crunch, away at 80, with suggestions that funds are bidding substantially below that level.