AMC exits Optimapharm

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CEE-focused Mezzanine Management has fully exited its investment in European contract research organisation Optimapharm by selling it to The Rohatyn Group.

Mezzanine Management is an advisor to the AMC group of funds, whose total investments exceed EUR700 million. The investment advisory firm has been operating in Central Europe since 2000 from its offices in Vienna, Warsaw, Bucharest, Budapest and Prague.

The funds’ investment portfolio includes 53 transactions across 12 countries in the CEE region. The firm is also adding a direct lending strategy to its regional private debt platform to address the growing market in Central Europe, and to support local businesses with senior secured financing instruments.

The funds are backed by institutional investors such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Fund as well as banks, pension funds and insurance companies.

The exit generated a strong IRR and money multiple for investors in AMC Capital IV following an 18-month period, which saw profits triple as the business grew organically and via acquisitions, according to the firm.

This is Mezzanine Management’s sixth exit in the last six months. The firm provided a EUR 10 million mezzanine facility in October 2018 and acquired a minority equity stake in Optimapharm through AMC Capital IV, a EUR 264 million fund which closed in 2018, thereby marking its first investment into Croatia. 

The Luxembourg-based fund includes commitments from 20 LPs. Half of the capital raised came from new investors; partly consisting of first-time capital from Asia.

The vehicle is focused on providing growth capital to mid-market businesses in Central Europe, through long-term debt and equity. Some of its initial deals included investments in ATM, Netrisk and Nettle, alongside Optimapharm.

During the next 18 months, the capital was used to support Optimapharm’s organic expansion as well as three add-on acquisitions in the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Austria. The partnership saw Optimapharm increase its number of offices from 10 to 15 to serve its customers across Europe.

Founded in 2006 in Zagreb, Optimapharm manages clinical trials across Europe and supports companies in the biotech, pharma and medical devices space. 

“The exceptional management at Optimapharm has established the systems and procedures to ensure a clean, well-organised and dynamic organisation,” said Chris Buckle, co-managing partner at Mezzanine Management. 

“During our partnership, they successfully undertook three strategic acquisitions, opened five new country operations and invested in new services, personnel and systems,” he added.

Gordana Gregurić Čičak, founder and CEO, and Igor Čičak, founder and chairman, commented on the fact that in the last 18 months, Optimapharm saw a rate of geographic expansion unprecedented in the company’s history.

“The ambitions of the leadership team were supported by Mezzanine Management, whose capital and expertise in scaling businesses in the region and through M&A added huge value. We look forward to continuing our growth with The Rohatyn Group,” said Gordana. Wolf Theiss Austria and Croatia advised AMC IV on the exit.