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Doughty Hanson to acquire air freshener manufacturer

Doughty Hanson & Co. will acquire Italian air freshener manufacturer Zobele in this, its first foray into the sector.

Doughty Hanson & Co, a European buyout firms in Europe, has agreed to acquire Zobele, an Italian domestic air freshener manufacturer, for €300 million ($381 million), according to a source close to the deal.

Zobele: fragrant deal for Doughty

Family-owned Zobele has expected revenues of about €240 million and EBITDA of about €45 million for 2006. 

Doughty Hanson is investing about €100 million to acquire a 70 percent share.  The Zobele family will be the second largest shareholder and Enrico Zobele will retain the current chairman role.

“We believe there is a great potential to further strengthen Zobele’s leading position through continued top-line growth, selected acquisitions, as well as significant value enhancement opportunities,” said Alioscia Berto, managing director of Doughty Hanson & Co Italy. 

Interbanca assisted Doughty Hanson as financial advisor and Skadden Arps and Pedersoli & Associati as legal advisers.

Doughty Hanson says this deal, which saw no competition, is in line with its strategy to acquire market leading, family-owned businesses such as 20-20 Mobile Group, Tag Heuer, Geberit, ATU, LM Glasfiber and Balta

The British private equity firm dropped plans to launch a €1 billion listed fund on Euronext in October.

Doughty Hanson’s focus is on mid-market businesses, with an enterprise value at the time of acquisition typically in the range €250 million to €1 billion.

Founded in 1919, Zobele began manufacturing flypaper and now produces air fresheners, insecticides and vaporizers.  Doughty Hanson said the company’s global customer base and low-cost manufacturing were among the attractions to the deal.

The acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to close at the end of 2006.