FRANCE - Hermes Private Equity (HPE) has acquired a stake in French holiday park operator Siblu Holdings, in a deal worth £100m.
Siblu, formerly Haven Europe, owns and operates eight of France's top holiday parks, with over 5 000 holiday homes between them on France's Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts.
The transaction was a management buyout supported by debt facilities from Barclays Leveraged Finance. HPE and Barclays together invested over £40m.
Justin Ward of Hermes commented: “The French market is the largest in Europe but has few significant operators and remains immature compared to the UK.”
HPE has around £1bn committed to private equity, both as an active investor in external private equity partnerships, and through its own direct investment activity. The direct investment activity held a closing of its second fund HPEP II, which is focused on the UK and European medium-sized buyout market, for £250 million in 2005.
Hermes, whose largest client is the £36bn BT Pension Scheme, currently invests approximately £62.7bn on behalf of 250 clients, including the pension funds of Royal Mail, Unilever, Nippon Life (Japan), US-based CalPERS, Dutch PGGM, Ontario Teachers Pension Plan and 41 UK local authorities.
It was reported this week that Mark Anson, chief executive at Hermes since the beginning of this year, plans a radical shake-up at the fund manager, including reportedly hiring investment bank Hawkpoint to look into making acquisitions.
There has been considerable change in Hermes' top management since Anson, who moved over from his position as CIO at the US$225bn California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), came on board.
Most recently, Roger Gray was appointed CIO to the firm, replacing Nick Mustoe, who left Hermes in May to take up the role of CIO equities at Pictet Asset Management.
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