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Apax funds to sell stake in Ifco Systems to Brambles

Funds advised by Apax Partners have agreed to sell their majority stake in Ifco Systems to the Australian logistics company Brambles for EUR13.50 per share.

Apax acquired the stake in Ifco Systems in November 2003 through the purchase of shares listed on the Prime Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and announced a voluntary public offer to the remaining free float shareholders in early 2004 for EUR2.75 per share.

Ifco Systems is a business service provider for reusable packaging containers and pallet management services. The Ifco products replace the traditional cardboard and wood containers that are used to transport fruit and vegetables with environmentally friendly plastic crates that can each be used up to 100 times.

Since acquiring its majority stake, Apax has worked closely with the management and supported the company’s growth strategy. During its ownership, Ifco Systems expanded its customer base in Europe and the US and entered the South American market. Ifco Systems acquired the RPC business of CHEP in the US and the RPC business of Steco in Europe in 2006 and 2008.

"Our successful investment in Ifco Systems demonstrates the extensive expertise of Apax Partners in the business services area and our team’s ability to identify companies with strong potential and promote their long-term growth. This is a prime example of Apax successfully partnering with a strong management team in one of our core industry sectors. Ifco is a leading player in the eco-friendly reusable packaging sector and Brambles is the ideal partner to maximize and develop its future potential," says Ralf Gruss, partner at Apax Partners.

Karl Pohler, chief executive of Ifco Systems, adds: "For seven years, Apax was a loyal and long-term investor, which the entire management team enjoyed working with to optimize the growth of Ifco. We look forward to a continuation of Ifco’s growth story."

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