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Candover Investments’ assets rise strongly

Buoyed by a number of exits and three refinancings, the listed entity that invests in funds managed by Candover has reported a 22.7 percent increase in total net assets to £313m.

Candover Investments, the listed vehicle that invests in and alongside funds managed by European buyout group Candover has announced its preliminary results for the year ended 31 December 2004.
 
The group reported a 22.7 percent rise in total net assets to £312.6 million (€447.7 million; $598.4 million) and a 6.1 percent increase in profit before tax to £19 million.
 
The figures were boosted by six realisations in 2004 by Candover funds – Baxi, Bourne Leisure, Centaur, Clondalkin, Earls Court & Olympia and Picard Surgelés. According to Candover, the exits generated aggregate returns of 3x the original investments made.
 
Alongside the sale of a residual interest in paper manufacturer Inveresk, Candover Investments also achieved returns from the refinancing of 2001 Fund portfolio companies Springer and Kabel Deutschland in the German media sector as well as Gala, the UK gaming group. Another recapitalisation, of oil and gas service provider Vetco International is expected later this month.
 
Commenting on the results, Stephen Curran, chairman of Candover Investments, said in a statement: “The buyout market comfortably attained record levels of new investment and the signs are that the year ahead will be one of further growth.”
 
Curran also took the opportunity to announce the intention of himself and fellow director Doug Fairservice to retire following the conclusion of the investment period for the 2001 Fund, which he expects to take place in 2006.
 
Board member and chairman of the audit committee Derek Wilson will retire after 11 years on the board following the next Candover AGM in May. Chris Russell will take over as head of the audit committee.
 
In 2004, Candover Investments invested £60.6 million in five new transactions and six follow-on investments. Of that total, £55.1 million was invested alongside the 2001 Fund, which committed £431.3 million to new investments in Alcontrol, Bureau van Dijk, Innovia Films, Thule AB and Vetco International.
 
One piece of bad news from Candover in 2004 came in November when the buyout fund said it had written down the value of a €400 million investment in Belgian nappy and feminine hygiene products manufacturer Ontex to €100 million. The write-down came last November as Candover told investors that Ontex was in danger of breaching certain banking covenants.