Sponsors dig into CapVest’s Curium ahead of initial bids 

JPM and Rothschild are providing financial advice to the nuclear medicine company.

Curium Pharma, the CapVest Partners-backed nuclear medicine imaging company, is poised to field first round bids early next week, people with knowledge of the matter told PE Hub

A process formally kicked off in late November, with several private equity groups having already expressed interest in the company, some of the sources said. Initial bids for the company are due Dec. 17, they said. 

Paris-headquartered Curium is working with financial advisers J.P. Morgan and Rothschild to evaluate strategic alternatives, PE Hub initially reported in September.

The auction is expected to produce a value at a multiple of Ebitda in the low double-digit range, or around 11x to 12x Ebitda, three of the people said. Indicative bids may be a bit higher reaching into the low teens, one of the people noted, but are likely to come down to that zip code as the process progresses. 

Sponsors are expected to bid off of a 2019 Ebitda figure of approximately EUR 180 million (~$200 million), which would suggest a deal valued in the low EUR 2 billion range, three people said. 

A Reuters report cited a EUR 200 million Ebitda figure and suggested a mid-teens multiple could produce a deal valued at as high as EUR 3 billion. A fourth source agreed with this value range. The source cited KKR’s sale of LGC Group to Cinven and Astorg, which traded hands a valuation of 3 billion pounds ($3.9 billion), or just over 20x, PE Hub previously reported. 

Curium produces critical nuclear tracers that are used in diagnostic imaging. The company’s radiopharmaceutical products help create 3D images of functional processes in the human body, which are then used to diagnose and treat various diseases. 

Although headquartered in Europe, Curium generates roughly 50 percent of its sales from North America, followed by about 35 percent in Europe, according to CapVest.   

The company’s revenue has grown at a low single digit compound annual growth rate between 2017 and 2019, while Ebitda has grown at a mid-teens CAGR over the corresponding period, one source said. Significant capital expenditures on M&A and growth initiatives have been a major component of Ebitda growth, the source said. 

While Curium has served as a great investment for CapVest, one consideration sponsors are factoring into diligence is Curium’s low growth in its base business, some of the sources said. 

Future growth and penetration into the rapidly growing segments of the radiopharmaceutical market such as a nuclear medicine technique called PET imaging – would require additional acquisitions and R&D spend, two sources said. 

Curium’s nuclear diagnostic imaging offerings include both SPECT and PET scans, but 90 percent stems from the former today, according to CapVest’s website. PET imaging is the fastest growing piece of the radiopharmaceuticals market, one source noted, which means Curium would need to invest to break further into the market. 

Curium was created in 2017, when Capvest’s IBA Molecular acquired the nuclear imaging business of Mallinckrodt. The deal was valued at $690 million including upfront and contingent conditions. 

CapVest, JPM and Rothschild declined to comment. Curium didn’t return a request for comment. 

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