Minter Ellison and Coudert Brothers helped complete the Quadrant/Colonial First State Private Equity Ltd $110 million buy out of Adelaide-based Penrice Soda Ash from Castle Harlan Australian Mezzanine Partners (CHAMP).
Minters’ private equity team, led by partner Martin Bennett, represented Westpac’s Quadrant Capital Fund and funds managed by Colonial First State Private Equity. Coudert represented CHAMP.
Coudert lead partner on the deal, Mark Williamson, said the sale was an important development in management buyouts in Australia. He believed that although sales of companies from private equity owners to new private equity owners are common in the US, this had not been the case in Australia.
“As the capital available to private equity in Australia has grown significantly in recent years, it will become increasingly common for private equity funds to buy assets from other private equity owners,” he said.
“Buyouts closely align management and institutional investors through management’s equity participation in their own companies.”
Quadrant Capital is an affiliate of Westpac Private Equity Pty Ltd. Penrice was formed in 1989 through a leveraged buy out of ICI Australia’s soda ash operations. CHAMP acquired the company in 2001 from US agricultural chemical group IMC Global.
Penrice is Australia’s sole producer of soda ash, a vital ingredient in products ranging from glass to washing powder. It also supplies a range of products critical to the mining, metals, wool, chemical and pharmaceutical industries, for building and construction, and for environmental control and water purification.
Minter Ellison’s team included John Mosley (on the senior debt from NAB), Callen O’Brien (on the shareholding and mezzanine debt arrangements), Lucy Graham (on the Share Purchase Agreement), Mike Aitken and Garry Beath (on tax structuring), and Nathan Deveson (on stamp duty structuring).
Coudert’s team included associates Kieren Parker and Marta Jankovic of the firm’s Sydney office.
The deal closed on 31 May and was negotiated in just over two months.