PAI Partners has its fingers in a lot of pies. The private equity firm consists of some 18 partners that manage and advise private equity funds capping out at about €11 billion ($14 billion). The firm specializes in leveraged buyouts of medium- to large-sized public and private businesses in Europe, targeting the consumer goods, chemicals, building materials or construction, media, health care, and financial services sectors. Key portfolio companies include building materials supplier Xella and airport ground-handling firm Swissport International. PAI has offices in London, Madrid, Milan, Munich, Luxembourg, and Paris.
Portfolio company Chr. Hansen, a maker natural food ingredients, listed on the Copenhagen stock exchange in 2010. The following year, PAI sold auto repair outfit Kwik-Fit to ITOCHU Corporation for $1.5 billion. The company acquired both Chr. Hansen and Kwik-Fit in 2005, so the deals were consistent with its strategy of holding on to portfolio companies for four to six years.
The company agreed to exit several other investments in 2011. That year PAI sold its 51% stake in dairy products company Yoplait (acquired in 2002) to food giant General Mills. Other divestments include French engineering firm SPIE to a group of investors led by Clayton Dubilier & Rice, and a majority stake in Italian apparel retailer Gruppo Coin to BC Partners. Also in 2011, PAI bought Swissport International from Ferrovial for €654 million ($917.5 million).
In one of the largest private equity funds ever raised in continental Europe, the company closed a €5.4 billion ($8.5 billion) fund with capital from long-term investors in 2008. That year, PAI Partners became the largest shareholder in information technology firm Atos Origin in 2008 when it acquired an 18% stake in the company.
Past investments in industry-leading companies in Europe have given PAI Partners a solid reputation in the private equity business. Previous deals include Lafarge's roofing business.
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