European private equity firm Cinven, today announces that, along with PAI partners and Astorg Partners, it has sold its stake in Frans Bonhomme (‘the Company’) to Apax Partners. Cinven, PAI partners and Astorg Partners together previously held controlling stakes in the Company.

Frans Bonhomme is the French leader in the distribution of plastic tubes and fittings for the building industry. The three funds, which hold 31.4%, 31.4% and 16.8% respectively of the equity of Frans Bonhomme, had originally acquired their stakes in the company in February 2000.

In the three years since acquisition, Frans Bonhomme’s turnover has increased 25% to nearly €440 million for the fiscal year ended 31 December 2002, opening 60 new outlets (increasing the total to 213 today) and expanding its product range. In addition, under Chief Executive Officer Jean-Pierre Laroque, Frans Bonhomme’s senior management team has been strengthened during the period with the appointment of Deputy CEO Michel Pic, whose focus will be on development, and Chief Financial Officer Philippe Ringelstein.

Andrew Joy, director of Cinven commented:
"The excellent working relationship we have developed with the management team over the past three years has helped accelerate Frans Bonhomme’s growth and reinforce its leadership position in France. The results have exceeded our expectations and it has been a successful investment.”

Jean-Pierre Laroque, CEO of Frans Bonhomme added:
“PAI, Cinven and Astorg have made a significant contribution to Frans Bonhomme both in terms of financing and industrial expertise. We thank them for their support over the past three years, a period during which we achieved significant growth in operating scope, sales and profits. With a strengthened management team and strategy as well as the support of new shareholders, the Company is well positioned for growth both in France and abroad.’