22nd April, 2010, Prague - Advent International, the global private equity firm and one of the longest established and most experienced investors in CEE, announced the closing of its third deal of 2010, having successfully obtained a majority stake in CMU, an operator of clinics and hospitals and one of Romania’s leading healthcare groups.
Despite the recent turbulent times, the firm announced three new investments in Central Europe during the last 3 months. Firstly, it acquired a majority in Devin, the leading Bulgarian bottled water provider, followed by a squeeze-out and delisting process on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange which is expected to complete in mid-year 2010. Secondly, in February Advent concluded a successful public market tender for the shares of Poland’s leading educational publisher WSiP acquiring 75% of the share capital and is currently following steps to take the company private.
The CMU closing follows Advent’s recent announcement that it intends to make at least Euros 150 million from its current Euro 1 billion fund available during 2010 for new investments and for add-on acquisitions to support current portfolio companies.
“Given our dedication to the CEE region since 1994, it is no surprise that we continue to be open for business, even in difficult times. The three businesses we bought most recently are all very attractive and we were willing to pay fair prices, allowing us to prevail in competitive processes,” said Chris Mruck, Managing Partner at Advent and Co-head of the firm’s CEE investment activities.
Prague is one of Advent’s major hubs for the region. In addition to completing Czech transactions such as the mobile telephone company, Oskar, and the fuel card provider CCS, the Czech team led and managed the recent Devin acquisition in Bulgaria.
With much activity taking place in the region, Advent has been expanding its CEE team of investment professionals to the present 24, representing a 30% increase between 2008 and today. In Prague alone, the firm recently announced the arrival of Peter Nachtnebel, former Head of Leveraged Finance CEE at Unicredit and of Jozef Bardik from McKinsey. With offices in Prague, Warsaw, Bucharest and Kiev, the firm can be regarded as a leading private equity player in the region. This was supported by its recent win as ‘CEE PE firm of the year’ at the ‘Awards for Excellence in PE Europe 2010’.
In addition to its permanent team of investment experts, Advent also draws on its group of 70 senior industry figures from Advent’s Operating Partner Programme to provide advice to the management of Advent’s portfolio companies and to help them to optimise their response to current difficult market conditions.
“This response can often be very positive, such as drawing up initiatives to take market-share from competitors or just acquiring the competitor itself” notes Mruck.
The year 2010 may turn out to be just as challenging as 2009 but Advent is optimistic that it can be a good year for the companies that it partners with and to whom it brings its combination of operational expertise and financial support.