Arcapita buys French logistics firm from Sagard

The Bahrain-based investment bank has completed what it says is France’s largest LBO this year, in the form of a secondary deal for Compagnie Européenne de Prestations Logistiques. Sagard purchased the company in 2005 for an undisclosed sum, and has exited for an estimated €500m.

Arcapita Bank has strengthened its portfolio of industrial warehouse properties and logistics firms with the purchase of Compagnie Européenne de Prestations Logistiques from French private equity firm Sagard.

Financial details were not disclosed, but several media reports peg the deal’s value at €500 million ($736 million), and Arcapita has said it is the largest LBO completed this year in France. Compagnie Européenne de Prestations Logistiques (CEPL) reported revenue of roughly €150 million in the year ended 28 February 2008, according to Sagard’s website.

“This is one of the few transactions of this size in Europe to have secured LBO financing in these tough market conditions,” Atif Abdulmalik, Arcapita chief executive, said in a statement.

The Royal Bank of Scotland, Société Générale, Calyon and ING were among the banks that financed the transaction.

Led out of Arcapita’s London office, the deal will enhance the Bahrain investment bank’s European industrial warehouse holdings. In May, the firm purchased from Merrill Lynch a Central and Eastern European logistics warehouse company, Pinnacle Real Estate.

“Arcapita currently owns more than 5 million square meters of industrial warehouse facilities globally, and the acquisition of CEPL has the potential for significant synergies with our existing portfolio of logistics investments,” Mounzer Nasr, head of Arcapita's European corporate investments, said in a statement.

Headquartered in Béville le Comte, France, CEPL employs 2,000 people across 23 sites in France and Germany. It specialises in automated preparation of multi-reference orders, and does outsourced logistics for companies in sectors including perfume, cosmetics, sportswear, shoes, apparel, and high-tech goods.

The company was acquired in February 2005 for an undisclosed sum by Sagard, the France-based private equity firm associated with Canada’s Desmarais family. Sagard closed its second fund on €1 billion in December 2006.

 Arcapita invests in industries including logistics, retail, consumer products, energy, specialised manufacturing and healthcare.