Hong Kong-based NEVS closes deal to acquire bankrupt Saab Automobile

National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS), which is owned by Hong Kong-based National Modern Energy Holdings Ltd, said today it had completed the acquisition of bankrupt Swedish carmaker Saab Automobile AB.

The deal includes intellectual property (IP) rights for the Saab 9-3, IP rights for the Phoenix platform, tools, the manufacturing plant and test and laboratory facilities, as well as all outstanding shares in the property company which owned the Saab facilities in Trollhattan, Sweden.

The transaction is in line with the company’s goal to become a leading manufacturer of electric vehicles, NEVS said without giving financial details. Its chairman, Karl-Erling Trogen, added that the company plans to launch its first electric vehicle based on Saab 9-3 technologies and a new technology electric power train in around 18 months.

The transaction comes after the buyer settled a dispute with truck maker Scania (STO:SCV B) and defence and aerospace group Saab AB (STO:SAAB B) on the use of the Saab brand name for its future vehicles. Thus, the company that will produce the vehicles will be named National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB or NEVS. It will use the Saab brand for its vehicles but without the current griffin symbol.

Kai Johan Jiang, founder and principal owner of National Modern Energy Holdings, which focuses on alternative energy, commented that through the purchase of Saab Automobile, the company would add capabilities for the development and manufacturing of electric cars, for which there is an increasing demand in China.

Italy’s Campari to acquire Jamaican rum distiller Lascelles deMercado

Italian branded beverage group Gruppo Campari SpA on Monday said it would buy Jamaica’s rum maker Lascelles deMercado & Co Limited (JAM:LAS), or LdM, in a deal worth USD414.75m (EUR330m) that would see it enter the large and attractive rum sector.

Under the terms of the transaction, Campari will buy 81.4% in LdM from members of the CL Financial Limited group of companies and the rest from the target’s public shareholders via a formal bid at a price of USD4.32 per ordinary share and USD0.57 per preference share, the buyer said.

The price will be covered with bank debt.

The acquisition will add top premium rum brands to its portfolio, including rum range, including Appleton Estate, Appleton Special/White, Wray & Nephew and Coruba, while boosting its critical mass in the key US, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean markets and securing a top position in Jamaica.

With this deal, the Italian group also grows its business outside the home market and strengthens its spirits segment, its largest and most profitable business, it said.

The agreement includes LdM’s spirits business, the related upstream supply chain, as well as its local consumer products distribution business.
This transaction is Campari’s third largest deal in its history, giving it a top position among the global premium rum producers, it said, adding that it sees it to contribute to its earnings from the first year of ownership.

Completion is expected in the fourth quarter of this year, pending conditions.

The business to be bought generated pro-forma sales of USD277m and pro-forma EBITDA of USD27.7m in the 12 months to 30 June 2012.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Morrison & Foerster LLP acted a advisors Campari.

UK sponsor Bridgepoint closes acquisition of Compagnie du Ponant

UK-based private equity group Bridgepoint Capital Limited said on Monday it had completed the purchase of Compagnie du Ponant, a French luxury cruise company renowned for its specialist polar cruises, without giving information on the value of the deal.

Bridgepoint signed an agreement on the deal on 31 July. The vendors are French maritime transport services group CMA CGM Group and its parent company, Beirut-based Merit Corp.

Compagnie du Ponant, which was set up in 1988, operates three luxury ships and expects the delivery of a fourth one in June 2013. Its vessels, with 32 to 132 cabins, sail particularly in the Arctic and the Antarctic. In 2011, the company carried 20,000 passengers and generated revenues of EUR80m (USD100.5m) with over 580 employees.

According to Bridgepoint, the polar cruise market offers significant growth opportunities as it is supported by rich customers in Europe and the US who have been less susceptible to the macroeconomic conditions. It added that it would provide resources to support the acquired company’s development and international growth.

The buyer was advised by Bucephale Finance, Ashurst LLP, Boston Consulting Group Inc, Ernst and Young LLP and Arsene Taxand on the deal, whereas Willkie Farr Gallagher LLP served as advisor to CMA CGM and Merit.

Bridgepoint focuses on the acquisition of companies, which are valued at up to EUR1bn and operate in attractive sectors with the potential to grow organically or through acquisition. Bridgepoint has invested in sectors such as business services, consumer, financial services, healthcare, media and industrial sectors. It has offices in Frankfurt, Istanbul, London, Luxembourg, Madrid, Milan, Paris, Stockholm and Shanghai.

Amazon to compete with Groupon by launching daily deal site in London

E-commerce giant Amazon is on a quest to conquer new territories by launching a daily deals site, designed to operate for London initially, it has emerged. The new site will aim to compete with already established daily deals services providers in the area like Groupon and LivingSocial.

The new website, called AmazonLocal, will deliver relevant offers to consumers by e-mail each morning. The offers will be selected on a geographical basis and consumers will be provided with extra reward points if they make purchases with an Amazon credit card, the BBC reports. AmazonLocal is also available in the US, where it was launched about a year ago.

So far, Amazon has not announced any details about the new site but experts predict that the daily deals market, already a very competitive one, is set to go through changes with the entry of the new player. Amazon is at present the leading online retailer in the UK and was crowned the best UK brand last month in YouGov´s BrandIndex 2012.

Gordon Willoughby, director of AmazonLocal for Europe, comments that the retailer aims to provide customers with a comprehensive list of goods and services that can be bought online, so offering them deals from local restaurants, theatres and spas is a natural progression for the brand. Daily deals will now be added to the millions of products for sale on Amazon every day and the retailer will be looking to deliver the best experience to Londoners, he concludes.

Source: M2 Bespoke News

French drinks firm Remy Cointreau acquires Scotch maker Bruichladdich

French wines and spirits producer Remy Cointreau SA (EPA:RCO) said on Monday it had finalised a GBP58m (USD92m/EUR73m) deal to acquire Isle of Islay-based single malt Scotch whisky distiller Bruichladdich Distillery Co Ltd.

The transaction was conducted through Remy Cointreau’s wholly-owned British unit Remy Cointreau UK Ltd under an agreement signed between the parties on 23 July.

The buyer said at that time the purchase price consisted of a payment of GBP48m and the assumption of GBP10m in Bruichladdich debt.

The acquisition is aimed at enhancing Remy’s high-end portfolio of brands and is part of its strategy in the spirits luxury segment, the buyer’s chief executive Jean-Marie Laborde said in July. According to John Mactaggart, chairman of the British distiller, the business will reach its full potential by taking advantage of Remy’s strong distribution network and experienced brand development.

Bank of AmericaMerrill Lynch and Dundas & Wilson CS LLP acted as advisors for Remy, while Moelis & Company and Burness LLP counselled Bruichladdich.

Bruichladdich was set up in 1881 and was resurrected from closure in December 2000 by Mark Reynier and a group of private investors.

Remy Cointreau, a producer and distributor of wine and spirits, operates in the cognac and liqueurs and spirits segments. The cognac business provides the Remy Martin branded products, while the liqueurs and spirits unit distributes liquors under the Cointreau, Izarra and Passoa brands, as well as spirits including rum brand Mount Gay, brandy St Remy, Ponche rum Kuna and brandy Metaxa.