Azelis Holding SA, the specialty chemicals distributor, is being sold by its private equity owners 3i Group plc to another private investment outfit, Apax Partners LP, for an undisclosed sum.
Antwerp, Belgium-based Azelis said its staff had given the deal what it called “a favorable opinion” and the group expected the sale to close by the end of June this year. Azelis' products include plastics and rubber additives. The company employs 1,100 in Europe, Canada, Australia, India and China.
3i and funds managed by the firm bought a majority stake in Azelis eight years ago, since when it said the group had grown both organically and through acquisitions across the UK, the Benelux countries, Central and Eastern Europe.
Hans-Joachim Müller, who will stay in his job as Azelis chief executive after the deal, said: “I would like to thank 3i for their continued support, which has enabled our reorganization and provided the means to deliver rapid and sustainable growth over the last years.
“We have had the chance to get to know Apax Partners, and believe they share our values and are an excellent partner for the ongoing development of Azelis.
“Going forward, our strategy for growth is centered on the ambition to further build a lateral value chain in the market segments we serve.”
Frank Ehmer, a partner at Apax, said his firm had been proactively targeting the specialty chemicals distribution industry and had followed Azelis in recent years.
“We are pleased to have the opportunity to work with Azelis and support Hans-Joachim and the entire Azelis team in further establishing Azelis' position as a leading global distributor; continuing to strengthen the company's proposition for principals and customers and embarking on a phase of strong international growth.”
London-based Apax currently owns around 65 businesses, including Travelex, the foreign exchange broker; Tommy Hilfiger, the clothing and retail brand, and Autotrader magazine.
In the last year for which figures are available Azelis reported total sales of 944 million euros, down 14 percent on the previous year, while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) came in at 38 million euros, 13.6 percent lower than 2012.