Reuters – Lego Owners, Canadian Teachers Put $614M Into ISS

Toymaker Lego’s owners and a Canadian teachers’ pension fund are to pay 3.72 billion Danish crowns ($614 million) for a 26% stake in Danish cleaning group ISS which will use the money to cut debt, relaunching its IPO plans. Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan will invest about 2.605 billion crowns for its stake while the Danish Kirk Kristiansen family’s holding and investment company Kirkbi A/S, which controls Lego, will pay 1.116 billion.

(Reuters) – Toymaker Lego’s owners and a Canadian teachers’ pension fund are to pay 3.72 billion Danish crowns ($614 million) for a 26 percent stake in Danish cleaning group ISS which will use the money to cut debt, relaunching its IPO plans.

 

ISS made a failed attempt at an initial public offering last year after which it agreed to a 130 Danish crowns per share cash and share offer from G4S, a deal the British security services group later scrapped.

 

Thursday’s deal was worth 105 crowns per share, said ISS, which has been focused on cutting debt and boosting growth.

 

“ISS is on track to significantly deleverage ahead of an IPO within a few years,” chairman Ole Andersen said.

 

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan will invest about 2.605 billion crowns for its stake while the Danish Kirk Kristiansen family’s holding and investment company Kirkbi A/S, which controls Lego, will pay 1.116 billion.

 

ISS’s owners, private equity groups EQT Partners and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners are not selling any shares and remain majority owners, ISS said.

 

The proceeds will be used to repay 11 percent senior notes due 2014 after the December 2012 call date, and the capital injection will lower ISS’s leverage ratio to 5.15 times earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) from 5.86, ISS said.

 

Kirkbi, which owns 75 percent of the Lego Group, said it had been watching ISS for several years and considered it a well-run firm positioned for growth, particularly in emerging markets.

 

A lender to ISS, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “It is very positive news. We like the company, but it is pretty overlevered and this will allow them to bring down the debt.

 

“It is quite an unusual move to come in on the equity as it dilutes EQT’s (and Goldman Sachs’s) stake, but Teachers and Kirkbi have money to invest and we welcome it.”