Qualium Investissement erwirbt Kermel von Equistone Partners Europe

By on Juli 27, 2012

Qualium Investissement buys Kermel from funds managed by Equistone Partners Europe Limited (‘Equistone’) for an undisclosed amount. Kermel is the world’s only producer of fire-resistant polyamide-imide (PAI) fibers for textile, technical and industrial applications.
Founded in 1992, Kermel employs over 100 people at its Colmar plant (68). In 2011, sales were €37.5 million, with two-thirds outside France.
Kermel® fiber was developed through research at Rhône-Poulenc and is manufactured at the Colmar site, which has a production capacity of close to 2,000 metric tons. Kermel® fiber is designed for protective clothing for firefighters, police and military units, and workers in hazardous occupations in industries such as petrochemicals, steel, glass and electricity. Kermel Tech fiber is used in such technical applications as hot gas filtration and to make Kermel Insulright thermal and electrical insulating paper.
Following the transaction, funds managed by Qualium Investissement will hold a majority stake alongside the company’s management and executives. Since 2007, Kermel has been owned by a financial pool composed of funds managed by Equistone and Argos Soditic.
Since Equistone invested in Kermel in 2007, production capacity has increased by 50% and EBIT has doubled. Kermel has successfully diversified into newer customer segments and geographies, doubling sales of materials for industrial use and increased focus outside France, demonstrated by a doubling of turnover in North America.
Paul Costa de Beauregard, Managing Director of Qualium Investissement, notes, “We are extremely pleased with this transaction in a leading and exporting French company, strongly turned towards international markets, which designs and develops a unique product, driven by very talented managers, Venkatesh Tulluri and Markus Schwyn. Our investment will help the group to move into a new growth phase in France and abroad, in all Kermel fiber applications.”
Guillaume Jacqueau, Managing Partner of Equistone, states, “We are highly satisfied with this transaction, which marks the completion of a five-year partnership between the managements of Kermel and Equistone. During this period, Equistone’s support helped Kermel to grow by adding significantly to its production capacity, enabling it to increase sales, especially in exports and the industrial protective clothing segment.”
Venkatesh Tulluri and Markus Schwyn, two heads of Kermel, point out, “Our new partnership with Qualium Investissement, a subsidiary of the Caisse des Dépôts, raises Kermel’s profile in France and abroad. Kermel will be able to tap new resources to implement its growth strategy, both in fire-resistant fibers for heat-and-flame protective clothing and in diversification into technical applications.”

Acquirer: Qualium Investissement: Boris Podevin, Cyprien Choutet, Julie Khayat

Advisors to the acquirer:
–      M&A: Gimar Finance (Chantal Toulas)
–      Legal: Paul Hastings (Olivier Deren, Pascal de Moidrey, Arnaud Levasseur, Mounir Letayf)
–      Financial due diligence: Eight Advisory (Justin Welstead, Cyrille Palitzyne)
–      Strategic due diligence: Gherzi (Giuseppe Gherzi, Laurent Aucouturier), Alcimed (Florent Surugue, Rémi Masson Regnault)
–      Environmental due diligence: ERM (Julien Famy, Edouard Buffière)
–      Insurance due diligence: Marsh (Jean-Marie Dargaignaratz)
–      Environmental, Social and Governance due diligence: Exfi Partners (Emmanuel Parmentier)

Management advisors:
–      Financial: Callisto (Eric Delorme, Paul-François Lorenzoni)
–      Legal: Hoche (Jean-Luc Blein)

Lenders:
–      Axa Private Equity: Cécile Lévi, Jean-Marc Fiamma, Grégory Pernot
–      IFE: Jean-Pascal Ley, Laurent Warlop

Advisors to the lenders:
–      Legal: SJ Berwin (Olivier Vermeulen)

Vendors:
–      Equistone: Guillaume Jacqueau, Julie Lorin, Grégoire Schlumberger
–      Argos Soditic: Cédric Bruix

Advisors to the Vendors:
–      M&A: BNP Paribas Corporate Finance (Virginie Scotto, Sylvina Mayer, Bruno Attali)
–      Legal: HPML (Vincent Libaud, Velin Valev)
–      Vendor financial due diligence: Deloitte (Jean-Philippe Grosmaitre, Victor Chemineau)
–      Vendor environmental due diligence: URS (Lucie Choffey)

About Qualium Investissement
Qualium Investissement is a subsidiary of the Caisse des Dépôts operating in the non-public sector market. Authorized by the French Financial Markets Authority (AMF), it manages capital for third-party investors in France and other countries.
Specializing in management buyouts, it invests amounts between €20 million and €75 million, mainly in French companies valued from €40 million to €250 million, and may share control transactions of up to €500 million.
Founded in 1998, Qualium Investissement manages €1.5 billion in funds provided by its sponsor, the Caisse des Dépôts, and over 40 third-party French and foreign subscribers. Since its creation, it has invested in more than 60 companies across a large spectrum of industries (manufacturing, agro-food, specialty retailing, engineering, etc.).
It currently has investments in 14 unlisted French companies, including La Foir’Fouille, Tournus Equipement, DGF, Socotec, Quick and Feu Vert.
For more information: www.qualium-investissement.com

About Equistone
•         Equistone Partners Europe Limited is an independent investment firm owned and managed by the former executives of Barclays Private Equity.
•         Equistone acquired the management company of Barclays Private Equity from Barclays Capital, the investment banking division of Barclays Bank PLC, in November 2011.
•         The Company is one of Europe’s leading investors in mid-market buyouts with a successful track record spanning over 30 years, with more than 350 transactions completed in this period.
•         Equistone has a strong focus on change of ownership deals and aims to invest between €25m and €125m of equity in businesses with enterprise values of between €50m and €300m.
•         The Company has a team of 33 investment professionals operating across France, Germany, Switzerland and the UK, investing as a strategic partner alongside management teams.
•         Equistone is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.
•         For further information, please visit www.equistonepe.com

About Kermel
Kermel as it exists today came into being in July 1992, in the form of a joint venture set up by Rhône-Poulenc Aramides and Amoco Fabrics & Fibers Company.
After Rhône-Poulenc bought Amoco’s shares, Kermel became a fully-owned subsidiary of Rhône-Poulenc in August 1996. In 1998, Kermel joined Rhodia.


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