Private equity house says Avio-derci to Italian space business

William Turvill
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Cinven acquired Avio in December 2006

Private equity house Cinven has announced the sale of its space launcher and propulsion company.

Ten years after Cinven acquired Avio from Carlyle, alongside Finmeccanica as a minority shareholder, for €2.57bn (£2.3bn), the firm has agreed a sale to Space2 and Leonardo-Finmeccanica together with Avio’s management.

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At the time of that deal, in December 2006, Avio focused on both aviation and space. The aviation side of the business was sold to GE in 2013 for €3.3bn, generating around €1bn of profit for Cinven.

The company was then renamed Avio Space Propulsion, though it is still known as Avio.

The firm is headquartered in Colleferro, Italy, with additional operations in France and French Guyana. It employs more than 800 people and generated revenues of €279.2m in 2015, up 24.4 per cent on 2014.

It is understood the total equity value of Avio is €160m and that Cinven made a 2.3 times return on investment.

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“Avio is a good example of a successful industrial investment for Cinven,” said Cinven senior principal Eugenio Preve. “Today Avio is recognised as a standard setter for Italian technology innovation and plays an important strategic role in the global space industry.

“We are delighted that Space2 and Leonardo-Finmeccanica are acquiring Avio and will continue to invest in the business and its long-term growth. We wish the team every success.”

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