Italy’s FL Selenia to Change Hands

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A British private equity firm announced Thursday that it has agreed to sell Italian lubricant company FL Selenia to a U.S. firm, Vestar Capital Partners, for Euro 670 million (U.S. $752 million).

The deal, described as a management buyout, comes three years after London-based Doughty Hanson and Co. acquired FL Selenia from a unit of Italian automaker Fiat. FL Selenia, which is headquartered in Turin, Italy, claims to be the worlds largest independent blender and distributor of automotive lubricants. It recorded sales of Euro 477 million in 2002.

Doughty Hanson, one of the largest private equity firms in Europe, said FL Selenia achieved a number of accomplishments under its ownership, beginning with the hiring of Chief Executive Officer Aldino Bellazzini and implementation of a well-defined strategy. In Doughty Hansons hands, FL Selenia made several acquisitions – the largest being Viscosity Oil in the United States and the Italian lube company Rondine.

Vestar, which is based in New York City, reportedly was encouraged to buy FL Selenia because of its experience with Prestone Products and First Brands Corp., both of which do business in the automotive aftermarket sector. A Friday article in the Daily Deal said Vestar aims to put that experience to use in Europe. The article also quoted Robert Rosner, president of Vestar Capital Partners Europe, as stating that the new owner plans to give FL Selenia capital to pursue more acquisitions.

FL Selenia employs approximately 1,000 people. It makes 47 percent of its sales in Italy, 23 percent in the rest of Europe, 16 percent in the United States and 14 percent in Latin America.

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