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Industri Kapital en route to acquire Bonna Sabla from Axa Private Equity

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Industri Kapital has signed an agreement to acquire Bonna Sabla, the French leader in prefabricated concrete products, from AXA Private Equity and other shareholders, for an enterprise value of approximately €235m.

Bonna Sabla is the French leader in concrete products, with experience spanning more than a century.  The company mainly operates in the public service markets such as water conveyance, sanitation, civil engineering, urban environment and railway sleepers.  Bonna Sabla’s position as leader in the French market is founded on a highly developed local production network covering the whole of France. Products are manufactured in 45 production sites in France, and 11 abroad, notably the United Kingdom, Spain, Tunisia, Belgium, Egypt and Indonesia.

Turnover for 2005 is expected to be approximately €400m, of which 30% is from international markets.  Bonna Sabla has 2,800 employees.

Christopher Masek, Partner at Industri Kapital said “This acquisition is our seventh in France and the second here in this sector after Laho Equipement.  Our international experience in the construction and building materials sector (particularly with Consolis, leader in the Scandinavian prefabricated concrete market) allows us, together with the management team, led by Philippe Milliet and Pierre Brousse, to continue to support the development of the company, both in France and internationally.  Bonna Sabla has a strong position in a market characterised by structural change and the substitution of cast in place concrete products by prefabricated concrete products.  The company is also well positioned to benefit from the growth potential seen in the renovation and improvement of the infra structure in developing countries (sanitation, drinking water, rail networks and irrigation).”

Philippe Milliet, CEO of the Bonna Sabla group, added: “This transaction represents the final step of the refocusing of the Group which we, over the course of the past three years, have conducted alongside AXA Private Equity, and marks the beginning of a new phase in our development.  We look forward to working with Industri Kapital, who have shown confidence in Bonna Sabla’s potential for further development of our businesses.  Our future will now be built around the reinforcement of our current footprint, principally by improving profitability in mature markets, by the systematic development of new markets for pre-cast concrete and by expansion overseas, particularly in the Mediterranean, Eastern Europe, Indonesia and the Indochinese peninsula.

We have every confidence in the experience and motivation of our employees, as well as in the financial strength of our business, which makes us sure, that together with Industri Kapital, we will form a team that has every reason to believe in continued success.”

Frédéric Collard, LBO Director at AXA Private Equity commented “We are particularly proud that our acquisition of Bonna Sabla from Générale des Eaux in December 2002 has been completed with the sale of a reinvigorated business.  We are confident that with Philippe Milliet and the team he has built, Bonna Sabla will in Industri Kapital find the necessary support for this next development phase, which should be equally successful.”

Christopher Masek, Partner, Industri Kapital: +44 778 756 87 40
Sarah Gestetner, Citigate Dewe Rogerson: +44 20 7282 2920

Bonna Sabla
Brigitte Barbaut: + 33 1 46 53 24 14

AXA Private Equity
Sylvie Deneubourg: +33 1 44 45 92 20

About Industri Kapital

Industri Kapital is a European private equity firm with Nordic roots, managing close to 4 billion euros in fund commitments. Since 1989, Industri Kapital has acquired 53 European companies. The current portfolio encompasses 23 companies with a total turnover of over 8.5 billion euros.

Industri Kapital invests mainly in mid-sized companies with strong cash flow and profit improvement potential, operating in mature industries with fundamental underlying growth. Over the years Industri Kapital has developed significant sector experience, principally in the manufacturing and services industries. In the building materials and construction sectors, Industri Kapital has invested in Paroc, Consolis, Addum and Dyno Nobel in Scandinavia.

Industri Kapital’s previous investments in France include Laho Equipement (2000, sold in 2005), one of the leading construction equipment rental groups in France, Groupe Fives-Lille (2001, sold in 2004), an international industrial engineering group that designs and produces equipment, Labeyrie (2002, sold in 2004), a French company producing upmarket branded food products sold on the French, Dutch, Belgian and Spanish markets, Ceva Santé Animale (2003), which develops, manufactures and distributes Animal Health products and Idex (2004), France’s largest independent energy and environment services company, and Sia (2005), a global leader in home decoration.

For further information on Industri Kapital:

About Axa Private Equity

AXA Private Equity is a management company with an exclusive focus on unlisted investments. It has offices in Paris, Frankfurt, London, New York and Singapore. Its expertise spans all types of Private Equity: LBO, Venture, Expansion, Primary and Secondary Funds of Funds.

AXA Private Equity manages and/or advises Private Equity funds with assets in excess of EUR 7 billion for some of the world's leading investors. With a constant focus on transparency, performance and sustainable profitability, AXA Private Equity is supported by the expertise of its staff and its international experience.

AXA Private Equity has been developing its LBO business since 1996, and is one of the most active players in middle-market LBOs (companies with an enterprise value of less than EUR 400 million). Through its dedicated funds, AXA LBO Fund (EUR 95 million), AXA LBO Fund II (EUR 400 million) and AXA LBO Fund III (EUR 500 million), AXA Private Equity has closed more than 27 LBO deals in seven years (1997-2005) in France and Germany. The AXA Expansion I fund (EUR 65 million) was raised in 2003, and focuses on smaller-sized LBOs (less than EUR 30 million) and on taking a minority stake in growth expansion opportunities within the French and German markets.

For further information on AXA Private Equity:

About Bonna Sabla

Bonna Sabla is the French leading manufacturer of precast concrete products for public works, environment, construction and railway networks.

The Bonna Company was established in 1894 by Aimé Bonna, the inventor of a new type of pipe, the Bonna pressure pipe. This product provided the company with rapid growth in France and abroad. In 1924, the Bonna firm joined Compagnie Générale des Eaux (CGE) and was renamed “Société des Tuyaux Bonna”.

The Sabla Company was founded in 1892 with the extraction and manufacture of lime as its core business. It rapidly extended its activities to include the manufacture of concrete products. In 1988, it joined CGE through Société Générale d’Entreprises (SGE), of which it was a subsidiary at the time.

In 1997, the two companies began to merge their operations into a single entity, adopting the name of Bonna Sabla in 2001. At the end of 2002, Axa Private Equity became the principal shareholder of Bonna Sabla Group, along with Veolia (20%), B&S Electra (13%) and main Managing Directors (9%).

For further information on Bonna Sabla:

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