Established in 1993, Benelux-based Action is the leading non-food discount retailer in Europe. Large-scale procurement, optimal distribution and a cost-conscious corporate culture ensure very low prices. The core product assortment includes household goods and office supplies, cosmetics, personal care, snacks, food, toys, textiles, glass, porcelain and pottery, seasonal, decorative and DIY.
Action generates revenues of over €3bn per annum. Its business model differs from that of more traditional retailers because only 35% of its total product range is fixed. Action aims to surprise its customers with a constantly refreshed product range at amazingly low prices. The business model is summarised by the slogan: "surprisingly comprehensive, amazingly affordable".
"Action continues to perform strongly by expanding rapidly. The company has become a seasoned issuer in the debt markets. The strong demand from investors reflects the high level of support for Action’s strategy and management.” Robert Van Goethem, Partner and Head of Consume
AES’s mechanical seals are used in a variety of pumps and rotating equipment worldwide to prevent liquids and gases escaping into the environment. A wide range of mechanical seal types are manufactured to suit different industries and the significant investment made in modular design means that AES provides the best on-time delivery performance in the industry.
The AESSEAL® range of seals, seal support systems and bearing protectors are designed to improve reliability and reduce maintenance costs of rotating equipment. The business is focused on giving customers such exceptional service that they need never consider alternative sources of supply.
"3i has been a great partner over nearly two decades. They understand what it takes to grow a great, international business; they both support us in that mission and challenge us to be the best we can." Chris Rea, OBE Founder and Managing Director
Aspen Pumps designs, manufactures and distributes specialised mini pumps that remove condensate water from air conditioning and refrigeration systems. It is the global leader for mini pumps and is renowned for having the most reliable, installer friendly and innovative products. Additionally, it sells a range of products for air conditioning installers and engineers, including its range of accessories, Aspen Xtra, and rooftop mounting systems, Big Foot.
Following our acquisition of Aspen in 2015, the business is building on its market leading position and further penetrating international markets in Europe, the Americas and Asia through a number of organic and acquisitive initiatives to enhance its offering of value-added components, tools and accessories.
"We are delighted to be partnering with 3i. We have been impressed with their ambition for the business and feel we can benefit greatly from their experience supporting businesses achieve international expansion." Adrian Thompson, Chief Executive, Aspen Pumps
Audley Travel (“Audley”) is a leading provider of tailor-made experiential travel to over 80 destinations worldwide. Serving clients predominantly in the UK and US, Audley is renowned for its superior customer service and in-depth destination expertise delivered by its country specialists. This exceptional service drives customer loyalty leading to high levels of repeat customers and referrals.
Founded in 1996, Audley is the clear market leader in tailor-made travel in the UK. The business expanded into the US in 2014 with the opening of an office in Boston that has grown rapidly and is already generating over 15% of total revenues.
"We are delighted to be partnering with 3i which has enabled our management team to invest further into the business. 3i has a longstanding track record of supporting people-based businesses, and their international mindset and footprint is highly attractive to us as a management team." Ian Simkins Chief Executive, Audley Travel
Benelux-based Basic-Fit is the European market leader in the value-for-money fitness market with c500 clubs across five countries. Its operating model is based on a quality service, no frills approach, with family membership costing €19.99 per month. Clubs are well equipped, offer virtual group classes and 24 hour opening in some venues.
Basic-Fit’s disciplined international growth strategy is underpinned by investment in the organisation and key consumer trends of spending polarisation and the increasing focus on health and wellness. Alongside this, significant investment has been made to professionalise the business including a review of the brand and the format of the clubs.
BCA is a small regional airport in Belfast, Northern Ireland, located ten minutes by car from Belfast city centre In 2016 it served 2.7m inbound and outbound passengers. Its focus is domestic routes operated by scheduled carriers, serving business as well as leisure customers.
Currently four scheduled carriers (Flybe, British Airways, Aer Lingus and Eastern Airways) serve 17 domestic routes, including London Heathrow and London City. A small part of BCA’s traffic is international: Aer Lingus currently serves four sun routes (although this is due to drop to two) over the summer months; KLM serves Amsterdam; and Icelandair flies to Reykjavik.
Aeronautical revenues (airport charges) are not subject to economic regulation. Commercial revenues are generated principally from car parking, royalties on retail, food and beverage, car hire spend, rental income (lounges and offices) and advertising space.
Over 1,000 people are employed on the site, but only c.70 of those are employed by BCA. Many activities are outsourced (e.g. security, facilities management, air traffic control); and others are provided by third parties on-site (e.g. retail, food and beverage operations and ground handling). Fire services, maintenance, advertising, car parking and administration / management are the main activities that remain in-house.
Established in 1952, BoConcept has evolved into a world-leading developer of interior design and furniture concepts. With the brand promise of ‘Make the most out of your space’ BoConcept has built a strong following across the world and is now present in more than 60 markets through a network of c250 brand stores.
Following strong business improvement during the last two years, the company realised sales of DKK1.2bn in the financial year ending 30 April 2017.
"We are investing in a successful international brand with a proven track record in over 60 countries. We look forward to supporting the management team to further develop the company and continue to grow it internationally." Boris Kawohl, Partner, 3i Benelux
Transport & logistics
Cross London Trains ('XLT') is a company established to procure and lease the rolling stock for use on the Thameslink passenger rail franchise. As part of a wider upgrade of the Thameslink rail network, XLT is investing £1.6 billion in a fleet of new Siemens Desiro City commuter rail carriages to be leased to the Thameslink rail franchise operator, with the continued leasing of the trains underpinned by the Department for Transport for a period of 20 years.
The Cross London Train programme continued to make good progress. The programme aims to deliver the contracted fleet of 115 class 700 trains by the second half of 2018 to operate across the Thameslink network.
Siemens had manufactured 95 trains as at 30 September 2017, out of which 70 had been accepted by the GTR rail franchise. The performance of the delivered trains continues to improve at the expected rate.
The Investment Adviser’s attention remains focused on both improving train performance and the ongoing acceptance of new trains. The discount rate remained unchanged from the previous period. It is expected to be reduced over time as the fleet becomes operational and the risk to the programme decreases.
Christ is a German jeweller, founded in Frankfurt in 1863 and now based in Hagen. The company is a market leader in jewellery and watches in Germany in the mid-to-upper price segment.
Christ focuses on its own specialised stores in high street locations and shopping malls, along with flagship stores at airports and prestigious department stores. Additionally, Christ runs a strongly growing e-commerce platform. Through its strong multi-channel capabilities bridging between the stationary stores and the e-Commerce business, Christ leverages its strong brand online and offline.
“We are delighted to partner with 3i, they have an extensive track record in growing businesses within the retail sector and we look forward to working with them closely as we enter this new stage of development and growth for the Company.” Dr Bernd Schröder CEO, Christ
Cirtec Medical ("Cirtec")is a leading global provider of outsourced medical device and components design, engineering and manufacturing. It is headquartered in Minnesota, operating three facilities across the United States with additional operations in Germany through a subsidiary, Vascotube GmbH (“Vascotube”). Cirtec specialises in outsourced solutions for active implantable devices in the areas of neuromodulation, structural heart, drug delivery, cardiac rhythm management, ventricular assist and minimally invasive devices. Customers rely on Cirtec’s expertise to provide value-add solutions throughout the entire development cycle to help bring life-enhancing therapies to market.
The medical device outsourcing (MDO) market is expected to grow at a high single digit rate over the next five years and Cirtec is strategically positioned to serve attractive therapeutic end-markets that are set to grow at a rate beyond the broader MDO industry.
"We look forward to partnering with 3i. We feel that their approach, sector understanding and international reach makes them the right partner to support the next stage of our growth." Brian Highley CEO, Cirtec
Dynatect is a leading manufacturer of engineered, mission critical protective equipment. Its products are made from a variety of materials ranging from nylons to metals and are designed to protect and elongate the life of valuable equipment and protect workers near machinery. Products are low-cost yet critical, such as cable carriers or telescopic protective covers, and are sold into a large number of end-markets including automation, machine tools, construction, agriculture, transportation, medical and O&G.
The company is headquartered in Wisconsin, USA, and operates a number of manufacturing plants and distribution locations across North America, Europe and Asia.
"3i was a natural choice of partner for us. With their international network and local market insight, we will be able to accelerate our international growth strategy and be best placed to service our global customer base". Brian McSharry, Former CE, Dynatect
ESP is an independent gas transporter (“iGT”) and independent electricity network operator (“iDNO”) providing the ‘last mile’ of connection between properties (predominantly residential, but also industrial and commercial) and the gas and electricity distribution networks.
It focuses on being an ‘independent asset owner’. It acquires (bids for) gas and electricity connections from ‘utility infrastructure providers’ (“UIP”), who have themselves designed and installed the connections for property developers. ESP is then responsible for maintaining the connections going forward and receives a regulated revenue stream for each connection from the gas and electricity companies who charge the end customer as part of their overall gas or electricity bill. Price regulation for both gas and electricity connections is based on the regimes of the gas and electricity distribution companies. Regulation is overseen by Ofgem.
Today ESP owns over 500,000 connections and has an order book for 200,000 more, making it the second largest iGT/iDNO in the UK. ESP also has a domestic metering business (representing almost one quarter of its revenues). Charges for meters are unregulated.
Elenia owns the second largest electricity distribution network in Finland (90% of its value) and owns and operates 16 local district heating networks (10% of its value).
Elenia’s two businesses (electricity distribution and district heating) continue to perform strongly.
The proportion of buried cables increased in line with expectation to reach 31% and 46% (vs. 9% and 31% at the start of 2012) of the medium and low-voltage networks respectively. This is strongly incentivised by the regulatory model in order to improve the networks’ long-term resilience to bad weather.
During the period, Elenia continued to take advantage of the favourable credit market conditions and, since March 2017, issued €214 million of new bonds with maturities between 2028 and 2034 on attractive terms. Following the agreement concluded in December 2016 to provide third-party customer service to Jyväskylän Energia, two further contracts were signed with other neighbouring networks (Tampereen Sähkölaitos and Auris Kaasunjakelu) in May 2017.
ESVAGT is a leading provider of emergency rescue and response vessels and related services to the offshore energy industry in and around the North Sea and the Barents Sea.
The market conditions in which ESVAGT operates remain challenging. The low oil price environment has reduced production profitability and is negatively impacting exploration investment in the North Sea, leading to a reduced utilisation rate for ESVAGT’s vessels. In this context, we have continued to focus on the cost base and increasing ESVAGT’s market share in the UK. We have also seen some improvements in the supply dynamics as competitors are retiring off-contract, older tonnage.
ESVAGT has maintained its position as a Service Operations Vessel (“SOV”) market leader and has recently announced a new contract with MHI Vestas. The pipeline of new opportunities continues to grow and ESVAGT is currently shortlisted amongst the final bidders for two ongoing tenders. This may lead to an equity injection from shareholders to fund the construction of new vessels.
Etanco is the leading designer, manufacturer and distributor of building fasteners and fixing systems in France. Headquartered near Paris with 600 employees, the company also has distribution entities in Belgium, Italy and Eastern Europe and exports to more than 20 countries around the world through its Italian subsidiary Friulsider.
Etanco provides a full range of 80,000 products to cope with all the fastening needs of the “building envelope” including waterproofing, roofing, cladding, facades and safety lines. This extensive product range enables Etanco to offer products that meet specific market requirements and growing environmental and European regulatory standards. The company runs an integrated business model with 30%-40% of its products manufactured in-house, and offers world class logistics with all customised products being produced in small series and delivered in less than 48 hours directly to the construction worksite.
As a leading innovator of technical products, Etanco is well positioned to capitalise on the longer term trend of increasing thermal regulation (energy saving) across Europe.
Belgium-headquartered EURO-DIESEL was established in 1989. The Company designs, manufactures and maintains Diesel Rotary Uninterruptable Power Supply systems (“DRUPS systems) for top-tier customers in EMEA, the Americas and Asia Pacific through its worldwide network of 12 subsidiaries and over 40 distributors.
EURO-DIESEL has seen significant international expansion through the success of its unique NO-BREAK KS® DRUPS systems which ensure that its customers are immediately protected from power supply failures. This is a mission-critical product for its customers, which include data centres, hospitals, airports, banks, road and railway tunnels.
"The partnership with 3i brings new momentum to EURO-DIESEL’s development. We benefit greatly from 3i’s international network and experience in managing growth while improving operational performance." Philippe Gillain CEO, EURO-DIESEL