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European Capital exits Unipex investments, supports IK acquisition

European Capital and its affiliates have received proceeds of EUR27.9m by exiting their existing investments in Unipex Group.

European Capital has also completed a EUR20m investment in the multi-currency (including USD and EUR) unitranche bonds supporting the Unipex Group’s acquisition by IK2007 Fund, advised by IK Investment Partners.

Both transactions occurred in September 2012.

Unipex Group is a manufacturer and distributor of natural active ingredients and specialty chemicals for the cosmetic, pharmaceutical, nutrition and industrial sectors. Unipex Group has completed four build-up acquisitions extending both its geographic reach and product offering.

In May 2008, European Capital invested USD22m in a mezzanine facility then put in place to support the spin-off of Unipex Group from Atrium Innovations, led by AXA Private Equity. In July 2011, European Capital invested USD7m in additional mezzanine financing to support Unipex Group’s acquisition of Lucas Meyer Cosmetics.

European Capital’s exit comes as Unipex Group’s majority shareholder, AXA Private Equity, has sold 100 per cent of its shares of the company to IK2007 Fund. The exit, which took place in September 2012, allowed European Capital to realise a c. 1.5x money multiple on its initial investment, representing a 14.2 per cent IRR.

"Despite the tough economic environment, European Capital proved to be a reliable and reactive partner," says Beatrice Beitmann, managing director at AXA Private Equity. "We appreciated their ability to support Unipex Group in its acquisitions in various countries and in different currencies."

The company will remain under the leadership of Patrice Barthelmes and the existing management team.

"As a long term Unipex Group partner, European Capital is pleased to accompany the Company’s future growth through this new transaction, with IK Investment Partners, as majority shareholder," says Etienne Haubold, director at European Capital Financial Services. "This investment illustrates European Capital’s ability to provide flexible financing solutions, from mezzanine and unitranche to minority or majority equity investments, with multi-currency funding capabilities, and follow-up investments to growing companies."

Remi Buttiaux, partner at IK and advisor to the IK2007 Fund, adds: "As a long-time trusted partner of the Unipex Group, European Capital has been really supportive of Unipex Group’s expansion in the past. We appreciate their good knowledge of the group and its sector, which could prove useful in the future developments."

Since its inception, European Capital has invested EUR3.5bn in over 100 companies in Europe.

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