Aurelius cashes out of Distrelec; Apollo makes €1bn real estate play; DPI’s Solevo deal in focus

Ambienta’s platform company Wateralia, a designer, engineer and manufacturer of water pumps, has acquired Linea Ricambi and Bergomi Trading.

We’re opening the account today with a look at private equity firm Aurelius exiting a European electronic components distributor. We’ve got the enterprise value on that one for you.

Next we take a brief look at a big investment by Apollo Global Management in a portfolio of real estate assets, before taking a deep dive into Development Partners International’s acquisition of Solevo, a specialty chemicals distribution platform. DPI partner Marc Stoneham talks us through why Solevo is likely to enjoy strong growth and also the eventual exit options. We then take a brief look at another investment by DPI, this time in a discount retailer.

Rounding things out, we have an add-on for Ambienta’s water pump company, a pharma investment by TA Associates (involving an exit by Alto Partners), AshGrove Capital taking a stake in a revenue manager and finally a PAI Partners portfolio company in the flower business making an acquisition.


Private equity firm Aurelius this morning announced that it has agreed to sell Distrelec Group, a European business-to-business distributor of electronic and technical components, to RS Group, an industrial product and service provider. The enterprise value is €365 million and equity value is around €200 million.

Distrelec is headquartered in Manchester in England and its main markets are in Switzerland, Germany and Sweden, as well as 19 other European countries.

Aurelius acquired the firm in March 2020 as a carve-out from Dätwyler Group.

Another recent carve-out by Aurelius was that of LSG Group International from Deutsche Lufthansa. Read my interview with Aurelius founding partner Dirk Markus to learn about the complexities of the deal, including debt financing and currency issues.

Real estate

Apollo Global Management has agreed to invest €1 billion in a portfolio of real estate assets controlled by Vonovia.

Vonovia, headquartered in Bochum, Germany, is a global residential real estate company with assets of around $100 billion.

Proceeds from the investment will support Vonovia’s capital allocation plans, according to a release.

Exit options

We recently covered Development Partners International (DPI)’s acquisition of Solevo, a Geneva-headquartered specialty chemicals distribution platform for Africa.

The overall value of the deal was $250 million, which includes some debt funding, PE Hub Europe understands. Private equity firm Helios Investment Partners was the seller.

I caught up with Marc Stoneham, partner at DPI, to find out how an eventual exit from the firm might look like.

“Given the nature of this business – a multi-country platform with a very large proportion of its revenues in currencies that are pegged to the euro, riding very long-term attractive trends, with a very high-quality institutional management team and governance – this would be a very strong candidate for an IPO when the time comes, or some of the largest players in the speciality chemicals space,” said Stoneham.

It’s the urbanisation of Africa that is helping drive demand for Solevo’s products, Stoneham told me.

“There are three really big themes in all of our markets,” he said. “One is urbanisation – we are seeing one of the fastest chapters of urbanisation, probably, in human history. Approximately 700 million people will make their home in African cities over the next decade. Two, the major markets of the continent are at an inflection point in terms of electrification, literacy, and the investment capacity required for industrialisation. Finally, somewhat as a result of the first two, a very large number of people are moving into the middle class.”

As the middle class expands, people increasingly adopt urban lifestyles, Stoneham explained. That lets the speciality chemicals thrive across agriculture, food and nutrition, water treatment, packaging and other sectors.

Check out the full interview here.


Sticking with DPI for a moment, the private equity firm, alongside co-investors including British International Investment and South Suez, today announced a $165 million equity investment in Kayzon Ltd, the UK parent of Kayzon, a discount retailer in Egypt. The investment is aimed to help the firm accelerate its expansion plan across Africa.

Kayzon has 600 shops. DPI first invested in it in 2022.


Water treatment was one of the examples DPI’s Stoneham provided as an area that could aid the growth of specialty chemicals companies like Solevo.

We have a deal to report in that sector this morning.

Private equity firm Ambienta’s platform company Wateralia, a designer, engineer and manufacturer of water pumps, has acquired Linea Ricambi and Bergomi Trading. The companies are combined under the brand Caprari Trading and are distributors of water pumps and spare parts.

The acquired companies have over 850 customers, according to a statement.

The combined Wateralia group now has over €240 million in sales and over €40m EBITDA.

Growing healthcare

TA Associates has signed an agreement to make a growth investment in Diatech Pharmacogenetics, a pharmacogenetics and cancer precision medicine diagnostics company.

Diatech is based in Ancona, Italy.

TA’s investment will support Diatech’s continued development of diagnostic products and reagents in the pharmacogenetics sectors, as well as its global growth initiatives, the release added.

“The company’s proven track record and leading position in its market mean it is well positioned to capitalise on organic and inorganic growth opportunities, expanding its addressable market and extensive product portfolio,” said Birker Bahnsen, MD at TA and head of the firm’s Europe healthcare group.

Alto Partners will fully exit its minority stake in Diatech as part of the transaction.

Revenue management

AshGrove Capital is set to invest in Kantar Xtel, a global revenue management services provider for consumer goods companies.

Kantar Xtel is backed by SilverTree Equity and Bain Capital. It is based in Bologna, Italy, and was created in 2022 via the merger of Xtel and StepUp.

SilverTree invested in Kantar Xtel in 2022. Bain invested in Kantar Group in 2019.

Say it with flowers

MyFlower Group, backed my PAI Partners, will acquire Interflora Sweden in line with its strategy of consolidating the Interflora brand in Europe.

Interflora is a flower delivery company based in Lincolnshire, England.

MyFlower Group operates the Interflora brand in seven countries, including France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Denmark, Luxembourg, and Romania.