Actis Capital Exits Chinese Kitchen Equipment Maker Vesta

Glenview, IL-based Illinois Tool Works Inc. says that it has acquired Vesta (Guangzhou) Catering Co., a kitchen equipment maker owned by Actis Capital, a private equity firm investing exclusively in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The terms of the deal are not disclosed, but the exit came just a little over two years after Actis Capital invested in Guangzhou-based Vesta in May 2011.

Based in Beijing, Actis Capital’s 16-person China operations are headed by Dong Zhong, a veteran dealmaker in the consumer sector. She led Actis’ investment in popular hotpot chain Xiabu Xiabu, and sits on the board of Chinese restaurant brand Bellagio.

Actis’ sales of Vesta joins a long list of trade sale exits completed by private equity firms in China as the IPO market remains unwelcoming.

In April, Vector Capital and CITIC Capital Partners sold their stakes in RAE Systems, Inc. to Honeywell for US$340 million. In January, Legend Capital offloaded its stake in Beijing-based Eren Eben to Tsinghua Tongfang Co.

Global private-equity firm TPG is also looking to exit its stake in Chinese equipment leasing company, UniTrust Finance & Leasing Corp., in a potential trade sale.

In 2012, private equity firms sold their stakes in Chinese companies to third-party corporate buyers for a combined US$1.8 billion. That number jumped to roughly US$2.6 billion for the first six months this year, according to data provider Dealogic.

Illinois Tool Works is a manufacturer of value-added consumer products and specialty equipment. The company’s pro forma revenues totaled US$17 billion in 2012, with more than half of these revenues generated outside of the United States.

The company’s executive vice president Chris O’Herlihy says that this acquisition will gives his company entry to the fast-growing Chinese Western cooking equipment industry.

According to Actis Capital’s website, Vesta is the largest designer and maker of Western style mid-range commercial kitchen equipment in China with two manufacturing facilities and 900 employees.

China Expert Network
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