Azelis sold to private equity firm

Investment manager 3i, Azelis and Apax Partners have announced that Atlas Holding S.A., the holding company of Belgium-baesd Azelis Group has signed a binding agreement to sell Azelis, a pan-European speciality chemical distributor to funds advised by Apax Partners, a global private equity firm. Terms were not disclosed.

The relevant workers’ councils of Azelis have issued a favourable opinion on the transaction, which remains subject to regulatory clearances, and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2015.

3i and funds managed by 3i acquired a majority stake in Azelis in 2007. Since then it has transformed from a decentralised European business into an integrated group, operating under the Azelis brand, serving customers and principals in the coatings, chemicals, rubber and plastic additives, food and health, animal nutrition, pharma and personal care industries.

During this period, Azelis has grown both organically and through acquisitions, significantly expanding its geographic footprint in the UK, Benelux, and Central and Eastern Europe. It has also successfully entered the Asian chemical distribution market, opening several offices in China, Japan and Southeast Asia. Substantial operational improvements were also implemented across the organisation.

Apax Partners, together with the existing management team, intends to continue Azelis’ strategic focus on growing the business through ongoing development of its specialist product portfolio and continuing to extend its global reach, both organically and through acquisitions.

Hans-Joachim Müller, Azelis CEO, commented: “Going forward, our strategy for growth is centred on the ambition to further build a lateral value chain in the market segments we serve. This clear vision is understood by our employees and is currently being implemented, both locally and internationally. This new phase of our development will greatly improve our future business prospects, facilitate expansion plans and accelerate growth, which may include targeted acquisitions where needed.”

Robert Van Goethem, Partner at 3i, commented: “Despite the challenging European economic environment in recent years, Azelis has successfully expanded into new markets and in its core market segments. Throughout our investment, 3i has supported the company with additional funds to enable a range of acquisitions and corporate initiatives.”


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