Equistone is buying the company alongside existing shareholders ING Parcom Private Equity, CM-CIC Investment and Picardie Investment.
The unitranche financing, a type of debt that combines senior and subordinated debt into one debt instrument, will provide Unither with flexible financing to pursue its capital expenditures programme, AXA said in a statement released today. Its mezzanine team has been a partner of the company since November 2006.
Unither Pharmaceuticals was originally purchased in 1993 from a Sanofi’s factory employing 17 people in Amiens, France. It manufactures unidose packaging for European pharmaceutical laboratories, and generic products, particularly eyewashes, saline solutions and anti-asthma drugs in sterile single-dose units and stick-packs. The group employs more than 850 people and generated revenues of €151m in 2010.
Cécile Mayer-Lévi, a managing director of mezzanine at AXA PE, said, “The unitranche financing arranged by AXA Private Equity will allow Unither Pharmaceuticals to dedicate its free cash-flow to investment and value creation. This financing gives the company the opportunity to move into a new stage of its development. We are convinced of the company’s potential to become a leading player in its sector and we are delighted to continue to support Unither in its future growth.”
Stanislas Gaillard, director at Equistone Partners Europe, added, “Thanks to the responsiveness and pragmatism of the AXA Private Equity team, we were able to finalise our offer in a short time frame with strong financing, which takes into account the specifics of this transaction. The fluidity of our discussions during the drafting of the documentation has allowed us to combine this innovative unitranche financing with the operational set up which is essential to the daily functioning of the company.”
News reports at the end of September indicated that global buy-out firm KKR is among a list of potential bidders for AXA Private Equity. The auction process was expected to begin in October, and AXA PE is said to be reviewing the size of the stake it will retain.
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