European Capital

European Capital Invests in Recapitalization of Audika Group

    St. Peter Port, Guernsey (ots/PRNewswire) -

    European Capital S.A. SICAR, a wholly-owned subsidiary of European Capital Limited (LSE: ECAS) ("European Capital") announced today that it, together with ECAS Sarl and ECAS II Sarl, has invested in the holding company controlling Audika Group (Euronext Paris: ADI), the leading French distributor of hearing aids with over 340 fully owned centers. The investment was led by the Paris office of European Capital Financial Services Limited ("European Capital Services"), the sub-investment manager of European Capital. European Capital's investment takes the form of senior and junior mezzanine debt and common equity. European Capital has invested in the holding company that controls 53.9% of the Audika listed entity. This holding company is 55% owned by founding managers Alain and Jean-Claude Tonnard, 39% by European Capital and 6% by another manager, Philippe Langzam.

    "We are very happy to support the development of Audika, a leading company in the fast growing market of hearing correction," said Jean Eichenlaub, Managing Director of European Capital Services. "We quickly assembled a specific financing package that provides optimal support to Audika's founders and co-CEOs as they pursue compelling expansion opportunities. This transaction supports the ambition of Audika's founders and senior management to carry on the Group's long term and international development and perpetuate its family management spirit, backed by an active financial partner. "

    "Through innovative marketing campaigns, Audika has achieved top brand recognition among end-consumers, to whom it delivers personalized, first-class products and hearing correction services," said Jacques Pancrazi, Director of European Capital Services. "In addition, Audika's unique network organization produces unmatched productivity and steady performance improvement. Audika's management team has an outstanding track record of acquiring and integrating independent centers. We are delighted to contribute and to support the group in its ambitious international development plan."

    "Driven by lengthening life expectancies and aging baby boomers experiencing the failing of their auditory capabilities, the hearing aid market benefits from steady growth and excellent visibility. In addition, it remains a very fragmented market with many acquisition opportunities," said Isabelle Carpentier, European Capital Services Manager. "Continually improving technologies also contribute to widening consumer acceptance and an increasing penetration rate among hearing impaired persons."

    Founded in 1977 and listed on the Paris stock exchange since 1998, Audika is the leading French network of hearing correction centers, increasing from 205 in 2001 to over 340 owned centers today. Headquartered in Paris, Audika has nearly 600 employees. In 2006, Audika generated sales and EBITDA of euro 79 million and euro 15 million respectively and targets revenues of euro 92 million in 2007.

    "We are delighted to partner with European Capital for the next step of our development," said Jean-Claude and Alain Tonnard, Audika co-CEOs. "European Capital's international presence will be highly valuable in support of our international expansion in the coming years."

    European Capital has invested euro 1.7 billion (US$2.4 billion) in the last twelve months, euro 1.3 billion (US$1.8 billion) year to date and euro 333 million (US$466 million) quarter to date. For more information about European Capital's portfolio, go to http://www.ECAS.com/our_portfolio/portfolio.html.

    ABOUT EUROPEAN CAPITAL

    European Capital is a publicly traded company for pan-European equity, mezzanine and senior debt investments with capital resources of approximately euro 2.3 billion (US$3.2 billion). European Capital invests in and sponsors management and employee buyouts, invests in private equity buyouts and provides capital directly to private and public companies headquartered predominantly in Europe. European Capital generally invests between euro 5 million and euro 500 million per transaction in equity, mezzanine debt and senior debt to fund growth, acquisitions and recapitalizations.

    Companies interested in learning more about European Capital's flexible financing should contact Jean Eichenlaub at +33(0)1-4068-0666 in Paris, Nathalie Faure Beaulieu or Simon Henderson at +44(0)20-7539-7000 in London, Robert von Finckenstein at +49(0)69-7171-2970 in Frankfurt, or Luis Felipe Castellanos at +(34)91-745-9963 in Madrid, or visit the website at www.EuropeanCapital.com.

    ABOUT AMERICAN CAPITAL

    American Capital Strategies Ltd. (Nasdaq: ACAS) is an affiliate of European Capital and the only alternative asset management company that is a member of the S&P 500. With US$17 billion in assets under management(1), including in externally managed funds, American Capital is the largest U.S. publicly traded private equity fund and one of the largest publicly traded alternative asset managers. American Capital, both directly and through its global asset management business, is an investor in management and employee buyouts, private equity buyouts, and early stage and mature private and public companies. American Capital provides senior debt, mezzanine debt and equity to fund growth, acquisitions, recapitalizations and securitizations. American Capital and its affiliates invest from US$5 million to US$800 million per company in North America and euro 5 million to euro 500 million per company in Europe.

@@start.t1@@      (1) Assets under management is an estimate of internally and externally
            managed assets as of July 31, 2007 and does not include any fair
            value adjustments subsequent to June 30, 2007.@@end@@

    This press release contains forward-looking statements. The statements regarding expected results of European Capital and/or American Capital are subject to various factors and uncertainties, including the uncertainties associated with the timing of transaction closings, changes in interest rates, availability of transactions, changes in regional, national or international economic conditions, or changes in the conditions of the industries in which European Capital and/or American Capital has made investments.

    This announcement includes statements that are, or may be deemed to be, "forward-looking statements". These forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology, including the terms "believes", "estimates", "plans", "projects", "anticipates", "expects", "intends"," may", "will", or "should" or, in each case, their negative or other variations or comparable terminology. These forward-looking statements include matters that are not historical facts and include statements regarding European Capital's intentions, beliefs or current expectations concerning, among other things, European Capital's results of operations, financial condition, liquidity, prospects, growth and strategies.

    By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risk and uncertainty because they relate to future events and circumstances. A number of factors could cause actual results and developments to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements.

    Forward-looking statements may and often do differ materially from actual results. Any forward-looking statements in this announcement reflect European Capital's view with respect to future events as at the date of this announcement and are subject to risks relating to future events and other risks, uncertainties and assumptions relating to European Capital's operations, results of operations, growth strategy and liquidity. European Capital undertakes no obligation publicly to release the results of any revisions to any forward-looking statements in this announcement that may occur due to any change in its expectations or to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this announcement.

      Web site: http://www.EuropeanCapital.com
                      http://www.americancapital.com
                      http://www.ECAS.com/our_portfolio/portfolio.html

ots Originaltext: European Capital
Im Internet recherchierbar: http://www.presseportal.de

Contact:
Jean Eichenlaub, Managing Director, +33(0)140-68-0666, or Jacques
Pancrazi, Director, +33(0)140-68-0666, or Isabelle Carpentier,
Manager, +33(0)140-68-0666, or Marie Bal, Communication Manager,
+33(0)140-68-0666, all of European Capital Services



Weitere Meldungen: European Capital

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