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June 19 2018, David R Brown

Leading investment firm EQT Partners granted exclusivity to acquire specialty chemical distributor, Azelis

Azelis has announced that Funds advised by Apax Partners have received a binding offer and have entered into exclusive discussions to sell Azelis to EQT and co-investor PSP Investments. The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals is expected to close in the Q4 2018. Financial terms are undisclosed, but it is rumoured that the deal values Azelis at more than EUR 1.7bn. EQT is investing from its EQT VIII fund.

We have been impressed by how Azelis’ management team transformed the business from a predominantly European operator to a leading global platform

Bert Janssens
Partner at EQT

Azelis is a leading global specialty chemicals and food ingredients distributor with more than 43,000 customers worldwide and sales of around EUR 1.8 billion. Apax Partners were initially considering an IPO listing for Azelis on the Euronext Brussels in the 2nd half of 2018 but the offer from EQT proved a more attractive exit option.

“Azelis holds a leading position in the attractive specialty chemical distribution space,” EQT’s Bert Janssens said. “We have been impressed by how Azelis’ management team transformed the business from a predominantly European operator to a leading global platform.”

Apax acquired the Belgian company from 3i in 2015 to become the company’s fourth private equity owner. 3i backed Azelis in 2007, acquiring the business from Electra Partners Europe, the predecessor to Cognetas. It paid €72m for a 60% stake in a deal which valued the company at €315m. Cognetas backed a €135m secondary buyout in 2004, buying a a stake in the company from Permira, Interbanca and Centrobanca. Permira and Interbanca created Azelis three years prior through the merger of France-based Arnaud, Novorchem from Italy and UK-headquartered Chance & Hunt.

Since the Apax Funds’ investment in Azelis, the company has more than doubled its revenue and has undertaken nine acquisitions to broaden its geographic reach and product offering, the most significant being the 2015 acquisition of Koda Distribution Group whose North American presence was complementary to Azelis’ European and Asian reach.

Dr. Hans-Joachim Müller, CEO of Azelis, said: “I would like to thank Apax for their support, which has enabled Azelis to expand its global footprint in EMEA, Americas and Asia Pacific, delivering sustainable growth and strong results.”

About Azelis
Azelis is a leading global speciality chemicals and food ingredients distributor providing a diverse range of innovative products and services. Dedicated teams serve customers in the following industries: Personal Care, Pharma, Food & Health, Animal Nutrition, Specialty Agri/Horti, Homecare & Industrial Cleaning, CASE (coatings, adhesives, sealants & elastomers), Chemicals, Lubricants & Metal Working Fluids and Rubber & Plastic Additives. The Group has a turnover of around EUR 1.8 billion and employs around 1,800 people located in more than 60 facilities in over 40 countries across the EMEA, Asia Pacific and Americas regions.

Source(s): Azelis Press Release

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