Private Equity Comes Back With Bridgepoint Reviving Agro Deal

(Bloomberg) -- The European private equity industry is starting to show signs of life again, with Bridgepoint preparing to restart the sale of an agrochemical business after a two-month hiatus.

Bridgepoint has sent out updated information to suitors on Rovensa, which it had tried to offload when the coronavirus pandemic first hit, according to people with knowledge of the matter. It plans to seek revised bids shortly for the Iberian crop-protection firm, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

A sale of Rovensa could fetch more than 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion), Bloomberg News reported in December. Bridgepoint hasn’t set a precise timetable for the revived sale, and details of the process could change, the people said. A representative for Bridgepoint declined to comment.

Reviving the auction of Rovensa will deliver a welcome sign to bankers and buyout firms that appetite for dealmaking is improving. As with those in other sectors, chemical transactions have been hit because holding face-to-face meetings with management and visiting production sites haven’t been possible under Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

The buyout firm postponed a sale of Rovensa in March after several private-equity bidders decided against submitting binding offers as markets tumbled, Bloomberg News reported at the time.

With banks still loathe to finance deals in risky cyclical sectors, agrochemical assets could be among the easiest to sell given robust demand for food during the pandemic. Rovensa makes products including pesticides for fruit and vegetable growers.

It also manufactures nutritional ingredients -- a sweet spot for dealmaking in the chemicals industry. DuPont de Nemours Inc.’s plan to combine its nutrition and biosciences division with International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. in a $26 billion deal remains on track, DuPont Chief Executive Officer Ed Breen said in May.

Bridgepoint agreed to buy the company, formerly known as Sapec Agro, for 456 million euros in 2016.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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