CVC is set to break private equity dry spell across Europe

CVC Capital Partners is to buy Nordic construction products and machinery distributor Ahlsell from Cinven and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners for €1.8bn (£1.5bn), in Europe’s biggest private equity deal since last summer.

“Our acquisition of Ahlsell offers an exciting platform for growth, both organically and through acquisitions,” CVC partners Peter Tornquist and Soren Vestergaard-Poulsen said yesterday.

Ahlsell specialises in providing goods and services in heating, plumbing, electricals, tools and machinery. In 2011, Ahlsell made a profit before interest, depreciation and amortisation of €192m on revenue of €2.3bn.

The deal is Europe’s biggest buyout since BC Partners agreed to buy Swedish cable company Com Hem in July.

It is also the first big deal in a string of expected private equity sales in the region this year which include toilet and bath maker Sanitec, owned by EQT, and installation services firm Bravida, owned by Triton.

Goldman Sachs and Nordea advised Cinven and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners on the deal. Deutsche Bank advised CVC. Financing was led by Nordea, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Barclays Capital, DNB Nor and Danske Bank.