Buyout of Sperian Protection on Track

The company on Wednesday said work continues on filing a voluntary public tender offer by Menelas France SA, with agreement by Sperian's banks "close to being obtained."

Paris-based Sperian Protection, one of the biggest PPE manufacturers in the world, may be under new ownership soon. The buyout firm Cinven announced March 31 that its subsidiary Menelas France SA would file a friendly public tender offer for Sperian's shares at 70 euros per share, a 16 percent premium on the shares' closing price of March 30, and Sperian's board granted Cinven an exclusivity period through April 30.

Two major Sperian shareholders, Essilor and Mrs. Ginette Dalloz, have committed to tender their shares to Menelas, representing 28 percent of Sperian's capital; the tender offer will succeed if Menelas gets at least 4,363,364 shares -- 57 percent of Sperian's capital, Cinven announced.

Sperian issued a May 5 news release saying in part, "Sperian Protection's Board of Directors will meet soon. The fairness opinion from the independent expert is near completion. The necessary agreement of the Sperian Protection's financing banks is close to being obtained."

Cinven acquires European companies in six sectors (business services, consumer, financial services, health care, industrials, and technology/media/telecommunications) that require its investment of at least 100 million euros. It typically holds them four to six years. The company's 2009 annual report says no acquisitions were made in 2009, but the companies it owns generally achieved sales growth and organic growth during the year.

Sperian reported its first quarter 2010 financial results on April 28. Revenue was 173.8 million euros for the quarter, representing 16 percent organic growth from the same period of 2009, and 20.5 percent sales growth was highest in the Americas during the 2010 quarter, followed by 13.0 percent in EMEA and 10.5 percent in the Asia-Pacific region.

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