3i makes 2x on marine business

The listed private equity firm has sold its remaining stake in Dutch business Dockwise to a consortium of investors including Bain Capital’s credit arm, Sankaty.

3i Group, the London-listed private equity firm, has exited heavy marine lifting business Dockwise, generating two times its original €125 million investment.

3i’s buyout team invested in Netherlands-based Dockwise as part of a $700 million deal in January 2007. Dockwise subsequently merged with Sealift, another business operating marine heavy-lifting services, in May 2007. A subsequent recapitalisation then allowed 3i to return €191 million to investors.

Dockwise: Undergoing 'balance sheet reinforcement'

Dockwise listed on the Oslo stock exchange in October 2007, with 3i retaining a 26.2 percent stake.

The business said it is now undergoing a “balance sheet reinforcement” process, which will see it raise up to $250 million via a share placement, take a secondary listing on Euronext Amsterdam and take on a consortium of three new investors who will buy 3i’s remaining stake for €55 million.

The new investors comprise: Netherlands-listed investment vehicle HAL Investments; Project Holland Fonds, a joint venture fund between Rabobank and Delta Lloyd investing in small- and medium-sized Dutch companies; and Sankaty Advisors, a credit fund manager affiliated to private equity firm Bain Capital.

Sankaty, which invests across the capital structure, is currently raising two funds: one targeting mid-market company debt, including mezzanine, and one targeting so-called debtor-in-possession (DIP) loans, which allow business to operate in bankruptcy.

Dockwise will use the proceeds of the equity raising to pay down outstanding debt, the firm said in a statement.