AXA, Equistone to sell airport equipment maker Alvest to LBO France


The private equity arm of French insurance giant AXA and Barclays spin-out Equistone have agreed to sell Alvest, a maker of ground support equipment for airports, to Paris-based LBO France.

Alvest, through its TLD subsidiary, is a French industrial group that makes ground support equipment for airports and also produces high-tech adhesive films, which are used for aeronautical applications.

AXA Private Equity took the business private in 2006 for €90m and has since helped it to expand internationally, with a particular focus on emerging markets.

AXA took a majority stake in the business, while Barclays Private Equity was invited into the deal with the offer of a minority interest.

The company has also broadened its offering with the acquisition of Sage Parts, a global distributor of spare parts for ground support equipment at airports.

Alvest now has 1,350 employees, a global proprietary sale network and operates eight factories in the US, Canada, France and China, which together serve customers in over 130 countries.

The group plans to reach a turnover of more than €300m in 2012 – more than double the 2006 level.

“The stability and market knowledge of the management has allowed the company to reinforce its international market leading position,” said Yann Chareton, director of the Mid Market Enterprise Capital group at AXA Private Equity.

“With the support of the new shareholder, the group is now able to seize upon the best opportunities generated by the attractive growth perspectives of emerging markets air traffic.”

AXA Private Equity and Equistone were advised by Rothschild.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The sale will allow AXA Private Equity and Equistone to return cash to their investors as they raise their latest mid-market buyout funds.

Sources told AltAssets in October that AXA Private Equity has raised over €1bn for its fifth fund, which is currently on the road seeking commitments of €2bn.

Separate sources confirmed last month that Equistone is in the final stages of raising a €1.5bn fund, the firm’s first since spinning out from British banking giant Barclays in November last year.

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