3i generates 43% IRR on JP Corry sale

Global private equity firm 3i has followed its recent investment in builders’ merchant MKM Building Supplies with the disposal of a 49.9% holding in Belfast-based JP Corry Group.

London-listed private equity firm 3i has sold its minority stake in Belfast-based independent builders’ merchants JP Corry Group for an undisclosed sum.

3i declined to comment on the transaction value, but according to a report in the Irish Independent, the firm sold its 49.9 percent holding for approximately £75 million (€110 million; $138 million). The process was managed by PricewaterhouseCoopers, according to Karl Cockwill, 3i portfolio manager.
3i sold its stake in JP Corry Group to France-headquartered Saint-Gobain Building Distribution, a European building materials business which operates in the UK under a number of brands including Jewson, Graham and Solaglas.
The sale will generate an IRR of 43 percent on 3i’s original investment in 1996. 3i also backed JP Corry’s acquisition of Coen Holdings, a timber and builders merchants based in the Republic of Ireland for an undisclosed sum shortly after the original acquisition.

Originally established by the Corry family in 1814, JP Corry is the largest builders’ merchant in Northern Ireland with 14 branches, along with five branches in the Republic of Ireland and three sites in England, operating through RK Timber, a manufacturer of roof trusses.
3i’s other investments in the sector include a £21 million investment in MKM Building Supplies, the fifth largest independent builders’ merchant in the UK, last month. In October 2005, 3i generated a 5.8x money multiple and an IRR of 30 percent on the disposal of its entire stake in UK insulation production company Encon to heating and plumbing group Wolseley for £140.5 million.

The following month, 3i sold its minority stake in William Wilson, an independent supplier of electrical, plumbing, heating and building products, to Wolseley in a £81 million transaction, with proceeds of £21 million representing a 20x money multiple and an IRR of 17 percent.