Private equity funds have been working well in Italy this year. Starting from mid-March till the end of july funds announced more than 45 deals including investments and divestments (while from mid-December 2014 till mid-March announced deals were 29). Moreover, at least 25 deals more are coming. These are not exaustive figures as they come publicly disclosed data collected by BeBeez and published by MF Milano Finanza last August 1st.
Figures are obviously differenct from the ones issued by the Castellanza University’s Private Equity Monitor as Pem index counts new investements deals only while it does not counts follow ons and divestments. Counting new investments only, Pem counted 22 deals in Q2 2015 on Italian targets, bringing the total numer of new deals in H1 to 43, which is a figure in line with H1 2014 Pem quarterly index (Q1 2003 =100) raised then to 183 points in Q2 from 175 points in Q1
Among Q2 deals some are quite valuable. See for example the buyout of Italy’s payment services bank istituto delle Banche Popolari (Icbpi) by a consortium made by Advent International, Bain Capital and Clessidra funds. The deal price will be 2 or 2.15 billion euros and will be fixed in the next future depending on the structure of the deal that will be chosen.
Another big deal was the one on Cavalli fashion maison (valued 380-390 million euros) led by Clessidra fund, a deal that came after years of stop and go. Clessidra has been joined in the deal by L-GAM and by Chinese Chow Tai Fook Entreprises Ltd, an Hong Kong -based holding company controlled by the Cheng family.
In the financial sector is then to be mentioned the seconday buyout of Banca Farmafactoring, a leading provider of credit management and non-recourse factoring services to suppliers to the Italian and Iberian health public sectors. Paneuropean private equity firm Apax Partners sold the bank to US Centerbridge. The value of the deal has not been disclosed but the bank reached 218 million euros in intermediation margin in 2014.
Again in the financial sector is to be mentioned the listing at the Italian Stock Exchange of Banca Sistema, an independent bank specialized in financing and managing trade receivables owed by the Italian Public Administration. The global offering consisted in a sale of shares only (no capital increase was included) and the vendor was Rbs Special Opportunities Fund (who owned a 46.69% stake in the bank). The bank’s market cap was 302 million euros in ipo (ipo price was 3.75 euros per share) while last July 31st reached 386 million euros and last August 21st price was 4,5 euros for a 362 millions market cap.
Finally at the end of July JC Flowers US private equity firm announced the sale of its controlling stake in Equita sim, one of the leading brokers active in the equity and capital markets in Italy offering also investment banking services (with 2014 revenues of 50 million euros . JC FLowers sold its 50% stake to Italian top banker Alessandro Profumo and Equita’s managers (the managed owned a 40% stake already).
Among smalled deals, the pharma sector has been quite active as four deals have been announced: Italchimici (Progressio sgr and Idea capital Funds sgr), Doppel (Trilantic Europe Partners), NTC (Wise sgr, which also invested in another pharma company, PH&T, last January) and LisaPharma.
As far as debt restructurings and turnaround deals are concerned, transport struggling company F.lli Elia was sold by Clessidra to Bertani Trasporti, Italian turnaround firm Ikf holding won lenders’ vote to its offer for italian defaulting women wear producer Ittierre-Otis and US firm Tengram capital‘s offer for leading luxury menswear Italian brand Zanella Confezioni won lenders’ vote (while last January Marquée Brands controlled by Neuberger Berman bought Italian luxury shoes manufacturer Bruno Magli from bankrupcty procedure).
A special mention goes to activity by Special purpose acquisition companies (Spac) promoted by Italian managers. Space2 (promoted by Sergio Erede, Gianni Mion, Roberto Italia, Carlo Pagliani, Edoardo Subert, Alfredo Ambrosio and Elisabetta De Bernardi) announced a 300 million euros fundraising at end of July and started listing on the Italian Stock Exchange, while quite soon is expected the listing of Capital for Progress (promoted among the others by former Borsa Italiana’s ceo Massimo Capuano); first Italian tematic Spac focused on green economy.Greenitaly 1 announced in the last few months the business combination with Prima Vera and the merger is expected to happen next Autumn. Soon is also expected the launch of fundraising by Ipo Challenger2 (Simone Strocch), by Industrial Stars of Italy 2 (Giovanni Cavallini and Attilio Arietti) and by Glenalta (Luca Giacomett, Gino Lugli, Stefano Malagoli and Silvio Marenco)
As far as expecrted deals are concerned, they are to be big deals. Italian oil giant Eni is to sell half of its stake in Italian oil service company Saipem (which means that a 20% stake is on sale for a value of 800 million to one billion euros). The retail business of Italy’s railway stations manager Grandi Stazioni is as well on sale and is valued 700-800 millions. A dual track (ipo or sale) has been started for Italian auto-parts distributor Rhiag (800 million to one billion euros), for Italy’s leading producer of fitness machinesTechnogym (about 700 million euros) , for electronics retail chain Unieuro (about 300 million euros) , for the leading producer of specific polymer intermediates Polynt (about 900 millions) and for leading producer of high value added paper Fedrigoni (400-560 milioni).
International industrial groups such as Chinese Fosun, German Tui and Norwegian Hna, are said to be lining up for Alpitour (a formerly struggling tour operator which has been tourned around by Italian private equity firms Wise sgr and J Hirsch). German perfumeries retail chain Douglas is instead la catena said to be interested in italy’s perfumeries retail chain Limoni, which in turn has been saved from a financial crisis by Orlando Italy private equity firm.
In the next months are also expected news about Italy’s leading operator of tlc networks Sirti, about xx Italtel and about Italian betting company Sisal (that in July 2014 pulled back its ipo). Finally Vision Capital is expected to sell the pharma division of glass bottles and glass container products manufacture Bormioli Rocco, after having sold the cosmetic and food&beverage ones.
Listing on the Italian Stock Exchange has been announced for next Autumn for leading Italian temporary employment agency OpenjobMetis(controlled by Wise sgr), while in the next few months Oxy Capital-Attestor Capital’s offer for heating systems maker Ferroli is expected to win the lenders’ vote. As far as turnarounds are concerned, offers are lining up for leading home linen maker Zucchi, while Oaktree is said to be interested in buying small bank Banca Lecchese from struggling Banca Popolare Etruria.