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Candover wraps up €1.2bn Ontex deal

15 Jul 2010

Candover has agreed to the secondary sale of Ontex, a Belgian personal hygiene business, to the private equity arm of Goldman Sachs and buy-out contemporary TPG for an enterprise value of €1.2bn.

European private equity firm Candover bought Ontex, primarily known as a diaper brand, in 2002 in a €1bn deal, which is said to have been Belgium’s biggest leveraged buy-out at the time.

Ontex is said to have suffered in competition with US consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble; however, it has fared relatively well during the recession and has apparently benefited from shoppers switching to its products, which are cheaper than P&G’s premium brands.

The Ontex sale, expected to close by the end of the year, is reportedly only generating Candover 70 per cent of its original investment, though the return marks good news for the firm after it wrote off the investment entirely four years ago.

Candover – which has now divested 12 of the 16 investments made by its second fund, Candover 2001 Fund, with the sale – is looking to also offload Spanish theme park operator Parques Reunidos for around €2bn.

Discussions over the fund manager’s buy-out by Canadian pension fund AIMCO look as though they may have fallen through, according to a report in the Financial Times today, leaving Candover’s future in the balance since its latest fund was axed after a vote from investors.

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