Gilde buys Hagemeyer unit

Struggling Dutch distribution company Hagemeyer, which is currently considering the sale of part of its equity to a financial investor, has sold its technical tape unit to Gilde Investment for E33m.

Gilde Investment Management, the Netherlands-based private equity firm, has paid E33m to acquire Stokvis Tape Group, a Dutch distributor of technical tapes.


The business is being acquired from Hagemeyer, the electrical and safety equipment distributor, which last week confirmed that it was in advanced stages of negotiations with third parties regarding refinancing alternatives, possibly including private equity investment.


Stokvis Tapes has operating companies in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, UK, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Hungary and China and has 300 employees. Consolidated sales for 2002 amounted to E77.9m.


The total consideration is approximately E33m and the book gain on the transaction for Hagemeyer amounts to approximately E14m.


In its most recent figures, Hagemeyer said that the company’s net debt amounted to E973m, an increase of E77m on the figure at the end of June. In the first half of 2003, Hagemeyer reported sales of E3.4bn, down from E4.1bn in the same period in 2002. The company also reported a first half net loss of E129m.


“Stokvis Tapes operates on a stand-alone basis, independent from any other Hagemeyer activity and has therefore little synergies with the rest of Hagemeyer’s operations,” the company said in a statement. Gilde was unavailable for comment.


Hagemeyer is interested in selling a stake in the business in order to avoid a dilutive rights issue, with US private equity firm Clayton Dubilier & Rice the most likely buyer. Hagemeyer has suffered from weak markets, particularly in the UK and Germany, which have resulted in profit warnings and substantial job cuts.


Last week, the company confirmed that it had entered into a standstill agreement with most of its lenders which “allows for the continuation of the existing credit lines and waives certain defaults which have occurred in various credit facilities. The agreement provides access by the company to liquidity to support normal working capital and trade credit.”


Gilde is currently investing from its Gilde Buyout Fund II, which closed on E530m in October 2001. The fund invests in buyout opportunities across France, Germany and the Benelux nations.