Astorg Partners and Vestar Capital Partners announced today that they have signed a definitive agreement for the acquisition by Astorg of OGF Group, France's leading funeral services provider. Astorg will invest alongside of the management team led by Philippe Lerouge, OGF's President and CEO, and will invite all OGF employees to become shareholders in the company. Vestar will also reinvest alongside of Astorg and OGF management. The transaction is expected to close by the end of September 2007, subject to receipt of regulatory approval and other customary conditions. The debt financing for the transaction has been committed to and fully underwritten by Credit Suisse.
Founded in 1844, OGF is the number 1 player in the French funeral services market. The company generated over €500 million in sales in 2006 and employs approximately 5,800 people throughout France. OGF Group has the largest integrated funeral services activity and the most extensive network in France with 1,100 points of sale, 378 funeral homes and 44 crematoria. The Group's service and product offering covers the entire range of funeral-related needs, and comprise two main activities: funeral services, including at-need and pre-need services, and manufacturing and sale of coffins and coffin linings. The burial and cremation funeral services are marketed primarily under the PFG (Pompes Funèbres Générales), Roblot, Henri de Borniol and Dignité Funéraire brands.
"We are delighted to be backing such an outstanding organization alongside its management team and employees" said Joël Lacourte, Managing Partner of Astorg Partners. "With a 160 year history of industry leadership and dedicated service to the French community, OGF represents a very attractive investment opportunity for our firm." Joël Lacourte added that Astorg is "particularly proud to be associated with such a highly respected company, deeply committed to providing its critically important services with human compassion, professionalism and dignity and will provide Philippe Lerouge and his management team with substantial capital resources to continuously reinforce the company's leadership position in France."
Robert Rosner, President of Vestar Capital Partners Europe, declared "we are proud to have been associated over the past years with such a terrific company and applaud Philippe Lerouge and his entire team for their accomplishments. This is a wonderful opportunity for OGF and its employees to continue their success in association with such a high quality investment organization as Astorg Partners." He added that Vestar remains a "very big believer" in the company and its prospects and will retain an ongoing investment in the business.
Philippe Lerouge, OGF's President and CEO, noted "we have had an excellent partnership with Vestar that has allowed the successful implementation of our strategy" and "we are delighted to partner with Astorg in OGF's capital as they will bring along all the resources needed to reinforce our competitive positioning in France and to develop our services offering."Mr Lerouge added that this new capital structure will mark a new era for the OGF Group "as all the employees of the Group will be offered the opportunity to become shareholders of the company and therefore will be able to share the benefits of the growth they all contribute to deliver."
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