Financial News

  • 24 March 2014, 12:22

Leahy Firm Leads Race For 1bn Dubai Group

The private equity firm which employs Sir Terry Leahy, the former boss of Tesco, is leading the race to buy a German industrial group which has key operations in northern England.

Sky News understands that Clayton Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) is heading a field of four remaining bidders for Mauser, a German-based industrial packaging group owned by the ruler of Dubai.

Mauser, which makes drums for transporting medical waste and other hazardous materials, operates two UK facilities, at Batley in West Yorkshire and Littleborough in Lancashire.

The auction of Mauser, which is owned by Dubai International Capital (DIC), was narrowed in the last few days to CD&R, Ardian Partners, Pamplona Capital and Platinum Equity, according to insiders.

Blackstone did not table a formal offer for Mauser, while it is unclear whether Apollo Management, another party which had expressed interest in the group, did so.

The sale of Mauser, which is expected to fetch approximately 1bn, would leave DIC owning only two companies less than a decade after it pursued ambitious plans to become one of the world's leading private equity investors.

DIC is part of Dubai Holding, one of the groups owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum.

The Dubai-based group acquired Mauser in mid-2007, just as the first signs of stress in global financial markets were becoming apparent.

Dubai was forced to default on sovereign debt repayments in 2009 amid a slump in asset prices but has since successfully restructured its borrowings.

The emirate is now recovering from the financial crisis, with significant construction work resuming and international banks increasing staffing levels from the post-crisis trough of recent years.

Mauser has itself undergone a financial restructuring, announcing in May last year that it had won support from its lenders, which include HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland, to amend the terms of its debt facilities.

DIC had contemplated a combined auction of Mauser, its UK-based aerospace group Doncasters and Almatis, a German aluminium manufacturer, but has decided to delay selling the latter two businesses.

Among DIC's other troubled investments was Travelodge, the British hotel operator, which it lost control of after its balance sheet became overstretched.

The auction of Mauser is being handled by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Mauser and CD&R, which owns companies such as the discount retailer B&M, declined to comment.