SAG raises a smile

SAG raises a smile

• Despite the overall lack of new issues, the quarter will end with a number of deals closing. Commerzbank, BNP Paribas and RBS have closed syndication of the €715m of debt backing EQT‘s secondary buyout of SAG, a German power plant builder and operator. The deal closed oversubscribed with commitments from both banks and from a number of funds.

• Bookrunners SG and CM-CIC have closed syndication of €172m of senior and mezzanine debt backing Industri Kapital’s buyout of Groupe Etanco. Bank of Ireland joined as a MLA ahead of syndication. The deal closed oversubscribed. France-based Etanco manufactures specialist fastenings for use in the construction of industrial warehouses and hangars.

• In Poland joint MLAs and bookrunners Commerzbank and ING have closed syndication of the debt supporting the acquisition of Polish rail freight distributor CTL Logistics. The deal closed oversubscribed with strong support from the local bank market. Mandates too continue to be won and deals launched.

• Bookrunners and coordinator JPMorgan, and bookrunners BNP Paribas, Commerzbank and Unicredit have launched syndication of the €415m debt backing Paine & Partners buyout of German gas spring manufacturer Stabilus.

• ABN AMRO, BNP Paribas, Lloyds TSB and Merrill Lynch are understood to have been mandated to arrange debt backing European Directories’ acquisition of Dutch market rival Gouden Gids. European Directories is controlled by sponsor Macquarie.

• In the UK, senior debt arrangers Lloyds TSB, Barclays and WestLB have been mandated to arrange £40m of debt backing ECI‘s £60.1m P2P buyout of Premier Research. Mezzanine financing is being provided by Indigo, which will also hold an equity stake in the deal. The business has around £28m of existing debt, implying an enterprise value of £88m. Premier Research is an AIM-listed biotech research business with operations in Europe and North America, where it provides clinical outsourcing services.

Weighing anchors

• HSBC, GE, Lloyds TSB and RBS have launched an anchor syndication phase for the close to £850m debt facility backing Apax and GMG’s buyout of Emap. The package is made up of £490m of senior debt split among A, B and C tranches, paying 300bp, 350bp and 400bp over Libor, respectively. There is a further £135m of undrawn acquisitions and revolving credit facilities and a £210m mezzanine tranche paying 9.75% with call protection of 103, 102 and 101. The senior phase will be followed by a general syndication.

• A similar strategy was used by bookrunners Barclays and HSBC, who have closed the senior phase of debt backing KKR‘s buyout of Northgate Information Solutions. The phase struggled according to observers away from the deal, and will be followed by a wider syndication later this month. Goldman Sachs and Park Square underwrote a mezzanine tranche.

RBS and UniCredit have launched syndication of the US$444m of credit facilities backing the refinancing of Qioptiq’s 2006 acquisition of Linos and the 2008 add-on acquisition of Point Source. Commerzbank and DZ Bank joined the transaction as MLAs early in the process. The refinancing does not fund a dividend payment to sponsor Candover or management, unlike the dividend re-caps seen in early 2007. Refinancings have barely featured in the market recently in view of both the increased cost of debt to sponsors and the scarcity of liquidity. Leads will focus on retaining existing bank lenders as well as on a more difficult effort to replace institutional investors in the existing syndicate with new bank lenders.

• Arrangers ABN AMRO, BNP Paribas, Lloyds TSB and Merrill Lynch will take and hold most of the approximately €150m debt backing the European Directories acquisition of Dutch market rival Gouden Gids. The deal is a relatively small add-on for Macquarie-owned European Directories, and fits with a pattern of sponsors increasing their focus on portfolio company performance as opposed to new deal flow.

• Mid-market sponsor Inflexion Private Equity has led an MBO of SMD, a privately owned designer and manufacturer of undersea vehicle systems based in the UK. Barclays and HSBC have underwritten the debt facilities.

• MLAs Bank of Ireland, Barclays, Merrill Lynch and RBS are close to closing syndication of the £222.5m debt backing the acquisition of Integrated Dental Holdings by Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity. Mezzanine is understood to have been successfully placed, with senior debt close to being completed.