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CVC closes 2012's biggest European buyout

CVC Capital Partners has wrapped up its purchase of Swedish building products company Ahlsell, the biggest European private equity buyout so far this year.

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CVC Capital Partners has wrapped up its purchase of Swedish building products company Ahlsell, the biggest European private equity buyout so far this year. 

Cinven and GS Capital Partners sold Ahlsell for €1.8bn, the takeover backed by $1.4bn (€1bn) in loans from Nordea, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Barclays Capital, DNB and Danske Bank.

This is the biggest debt quantum for a European buyout since Worldpay was bought by Advent International and Bain Capital for $2.7bn in August 2010. 

Ahlsell has 4,500 employees and 220 outlets across the Nordics, Estonia and Russia. The company supplies goods and tools for plumbers, electricians and DIY enthusiasts. The company was bought by Cinven, which has made a 2x return from the exit, and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners in 2006.

Over the course of private equity ownership, Ahlsell bought 25 companies, the most recent being Swedish electrical distributor NEA Elmaterial.

In addition, the group cut costs by sourcing materials from Asia and invested in its centralised warehousing facility in Norway.

In 2011, Ahlsell grew revenues by 6.1 per cent to €2.3bn and Ebitda by 28.2 per cent to €192m.

The deal is the largest buyout in Europe since BC Partners acquired another Swedish company, cable group Com Hem, for €1.8bn in July last year.