European Capital gets off to flying start

European Capital, part of the US private equity firm American Capital, has invested €123m in the buyout of Avery Weigh-Tronix and €126m in the buyout of Farrow & Ball, the first two deals for its UK office, which opened last August.

The UK office of European Capital, part of American Capital, a Nasdaq-listed mid-market firm that provides debt and equity for buyouts, has done its first deals, backing the buyouts of Avery Weigh-Tronix, a scales manufacturer, and Farrow & Ball, a decorative paints and wallpaper company.

European Capital opened its London office last August and is headed by Simon Henderson, previously a director at Barclays Capital. The London team was strengthened last month with four hires.
 
European Capital has invested €123 million ($156 million) in the buyout of Avery Weigh-Tronix, providing equity, senior debt and senior subordinated debt, as well as a revolving credit facility. The firm holds approximately 80 percent of the business with management owning the balance.
 
Based in Birmingham, UK, Avery Weigh-Tronix manufactures industrial weighing products and systems. It employs approximately 2,700 staff and operates five manufacturing and assembly sites in the UK, Canada, India and the US.
 
European Capital also invested €126 million in the buyout of Farrow & Ball, a luxury decorative paints and wallpaper business, providing equity, senior loans, senior subordinated debt and loan notes. European Capital invested alongside management to hold a 72 percent stake in the business.
 
John Farrow and Richard Ball, two chemists, founded Farrow & Ball in 1952 in the UK to sell decorative paint for interior and exterior use, as well as wallpaper. It now  employs 220 people and sells through independent stockists and showrooms in the UK, Europe and North America.
 
According to a source close to the deal, European Capital has entered into exclusive talks with British Airways to acquire its Air Miles business, which could fetch between £22 million and £30 million. European Capital was not available for comment.
 
European Capital, which also has an office in Paris, has invested €831 million in 27 companies since launching in August. Prior to the Avery Weigh-Tronix and Farrow & Ball transactions, its buyout deals had been carried out by the Paris office, headed by Nathalie Faure-Beaulieu, which also manages the firm’s mezzanine investments.
 
European Capital’s UK office was bolstered last month with the appointments of Alex Morey as director and Julian Masters as investment director. Morey and Masters both joined from Credit Suisse Private Equity. Athesa Guna and Ivan Stoyanov also joined as associates.