CVC Capital Partners to buy German energy-metering firm Ista

Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners is buying a majority stake in German energy-metering firm Ista, once again taking control of the company it had sold in 2007.

Ista HeadquarterLondon-based CVC, which already owns 24 per cent of Ista, yesterday agreed to buy a majority of the remaining 76 per cent from Charterhouse Capital Partners, in a deal valuing the Essen-based company at €3.1 billion ($4.1 billion) including debt, according to several media reports.

Charterhouse Capital will exit from Ista, while the management of the company will continue to hold a minority stake.

CVC had first acquired Ista in 2003 from German utility Eon for €930 million including debt, and sold the metering firm to Charterhouse in 2007 for €2.4 billion. It later reinvested part of the proceeds to buy 24 per cent.

Last December, Charterhouse had hired Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs to advice on the sale of Ista, and CVC Capital is reported to have outbid a rival private equity firm.

Ista is a leader in the sub-metering industry - the measurement of energy and water consumption and the cost allocation for multi-occupant properties.

It sells a range of meter hardware as well as providing a comprehensive package of related services, such as maintenance, meter reading, data processing and billing. In addition, the company is expanding its service range, offering energy management for utility customers. Ista is primarily a service company that uses hardware sales as a means to generate service revenues.

The company employs around 4,500 people globally and is active in 25 countries, serving 12 million homes and more than 450,000 customers. Ista's largest market is Germany, which accounts for little more than 50 per cent of its €701 million revenues.

Marc Strobel, partner at CVC, said, "We have been successfully invested in Ista for the last ten years and look forward to maintaining our relationship with the company as it continues to implement its growth strategy in the years ahead. Ista does not only have an excellent position with outstanding growth prospects in the field of energy efficiency but also has a very experienced management team and highly dedicated employees."

"In CVC, we have the ideal partner for continuing Ista's success story into the future. CVC knows our company extremely well, and as a shareholder in Ista has stood for continuity for about ten years. Over the past six years we have - together with Charterhouse and CVC - impressively succeeded in making ista the global market and innovation leader while at the same time setting the course for the future," said, Walter Schmidt, CEO of Ista.