KPS exits Howden in $4.4bn sale; GIP and KKR team with Vodafone for Vantage Towers deal

Howden is a global provider of air and gas handling products based in Renfrew, Scotland.

Good morning Eurohubsters, Craig McGlashan here with the Dealflow.

Energy deals have been a feature of the week so far and we’ve got a big exit in that sector to tell you about today.

Howden you do. KPS Capital Partners looks set to book a profit on its investment in Howden, a global provider of air and gas handling products based in Renfrew, Scotland.

New York-based private equity firm KPS agreed to sell Howden to Chart Industries, a US manufacturer of equipment for the clean energy and industrial gas markets, for $4.4 billion. KPS bought Howden from Colfax Corp in May 2019 for $1.8 billion.

Howden manufacturers rotating equipment products, including compressors, blowers, fans, rotary heaters and steam turbines.

Under KPS’s ownership, the firm “executed an aggressive growth strategy that repositioned Howden towards sustainability-linked end-markets and applications”, a statement from the firms said. It added: “Under KPS’ ownership, Howden entered or expanded its presence in end-markets that are critical to the future of the industrial economy, including hydrogen compression, carbon capture, utilisation and storage, wastewater treatment and energy recovery.”

“We are excited for the future of the combined Chart and Howden business,” said Raquel Palmer, co-managing partner of KPS, in a statement. “We believe there is tremendous industrial logic in combining the two businesses and that the combination will deliver significant value for all stakeholders.”

Chart Industries is based in Ball Ground, Georgia.

Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Securities, Barclays and Evercore were financial advisers and Paul Weiss, Rifkind and Wharton & Garrison served as legal counsel to KPS and Howden.

Struggle. KPS’s trade exit for Howden came at a time that another source of exits, IPOs, have been thin on the ground in Europe. Even some that do make it over the line have struggled.

Ithaca Energy, a North Sea oil and gas producer, went public yesterday in London’s largest IPO of the year. But its shares dropped nearly 12 percent below the £2.50 issue price at one point yesterday, before closing the day around 8 percent down.

Alight-ing the way. Keeping with energy, DIF Capital Partners announced that it has acquired a majority stake in Stockholm-headquartered Alight. The agreement includes an investment of €150 million and a secondary buyout of several existing shareholders. Alight is a developer of subsidy-free solar projects in the Nordics. The company will use the capital raised to accelerate the buildout of its near-term pipeline of solar projects.

The investment aims to enable Alight to accelerate its build-out of new solar projects in the Nordics and more broadly across Europe. Alight set an initial target to build 1GW of solar assets by 2025 and has a pipeline of projects under development exceeding that target. The company now aims to have 5GW of solar projects delivered across the Nordics and Europe by 2030.

Check out the full coverage here.

Towering deal. A group of funds led by Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) and KKR have entered into a strategic co-control partnership with telecoms firm Vodafone for the latter’s 81.7 percent stake in Vantage Towers, a European telecoms tower company.

The fund group will gain a shareholding of up to 50 percent. Vodafone’s stake will move to a holding company, named Oak BidCo, which will launch a voluntary public takeover offer for all outstanding free float shares of Vantage Towers, comprising around 18 percent of the share capital.

Financing deals. PAI Partners-backed HKA announced that it had acquired San Francisco-based TM Financial Forensics (TMF), bolstering its presence in the US. TMF was founded in 2010 and is a disputes consulting firm.

HKA is a London-based multi-disciplinary specialist services provider, specialising in risk mitigation and dispute resolution within the capital projects and infrastructure sector. PAI Partners bought the firm in August from Bridgepoint, which had acquired it in 2016.

Through the purchase of TMF, HKA hopes to boost its advice to clients on consulting and expert testimony in the areas of forensic accounting and economics, construction quantum, delay and technical, government contracts, and commercial damages, particularly in the US market.

We’ve seen a lot of financial services related deals over the last few months and we’ve been hearing a lot about wealth management being one of the top sub-sectors to watch.

That inspired me to write a round-up of some of the wealth management deals we’ve covered over the last few months. You can check it out here.

Healthcare. Perhaps the busiest two sectors since we launched PE Hub Europe a few months ago have been healthcare and tech, and we’ve got more to add to those lists today.

Ardian announced that it has reinvested in Neopharmed Gentili, with NB Renaissance joining as an investor.  They will jointly hold a majority stake with equal shares. Pharmaceutical firm Mediolanum Farmaceutici will retain a significant portion of the group’s shareholding.

Ardian first invested in Milan-based Neopharmed in November 2018. The company sells pharmaceutical products in the Italian market. With the backing of Ardian, Neopharmed achieved organic growth and implemented a buy-and-build plan, resulting in six M&A transactions in four years. The company has diversified its product portfolio, achieving revenues of €250 million.

Digitalisation. Linking healthcare and tech, Main Capital Partners announced that it has acquired a majority stake in St. Wolfgang-based UHB Consulting, a German provider of healthcare software services. Main sees UHB as well positioned to capitalise on regulations introduced by Germany in 2019 to accelerate the digitalisation process in Germany’s healthcare ecosystem.

UHB provides customised ERP, controlling and financial services for more than 880 healthcare end users, including some of the largest hospitals and medical centres in Germany.

On point. We’ll round out today with a couple of tech deals.

Blue Point Capital Partners portfolio company Stax announced the acquisition of London-based AMR International.

AMR is a global strategy consulting firm working in buy and sell-side commercial due diligence across the technology, information, media and events industries. Expanding in the UK and Europe has been a key part of Stax’s growth plan and AMR’s position and services offering made it the ideal inaugural acquisition for Stax, according to Blue Point.

Stax, headquartered in Boston, is a global management consulting firm serving corporate and private equity clients across a range of industries, including software and technology, healthcare, business services, industrial, consumer and retail, and education.

Finally, Bowmark Capital announced it has agreed to make an investment in Xperience, a provider of IT services and digital transformation.

Xperience, headquartered in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, provides end-to-end digital services across a range of services, including managed IT, cloud, business applications and cybersecurity. Bowmark’s investment will support the company’s growth objectives both organically and via acquisition, enabling a rapid expansion of its services in high-demand areas such as cybersecurity, according to Bowmark.

That’s it from me. Nina Lindholm will be with you tomorrow for the final Dealflow of the week.