Three Hills Capital Partners invests in Aquafil Group


Three Hills Capital Partners (“THCP”) today announced an investment in Europe’s leading nylon fibre producer shortly after closing a €100 million debut fund at the hard cap that will provide preferred capital investment to mid-sized companies across Europe.

This latest preferred equity investment of €22 million has been made into Aquafil, the market leading European producer of nylon fibres for textile flooring and apparel, enabling the CEO Giulio Bonazzi to buy out the existing minority shareholders. This is a third investment for THCP which has already committed approximately €30 million to burger chain Byron (October 2013) and Italian software company Dedalus (December 2013). Finanziaria Trentina, an Italian private equity firm, will invest an additional €8 million in Aquafil alongside THCP. In the context of the deal, the primary French bank Natixis provided a senior financing instrument.

Aquafil produces c. 130,000 tons of nylon fibres and polymers each year for use in textile flooring and apparel. With a presence on three continents and 15 manufacturing plants, it employs more than 2400 people in the UK, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Germany, the United States, Thailand and China. The company recently acquired the carpet yarn processing division of Scottish company W&J Knox and expects to generate revenues of c. €500 million in 2014. This month, Aquafil won the prestigious German Sustainability Award for Resource Efficiency.

Giulio Bonazzi, CEO of Aquafil commented: “After 5 years of successful partnership with our previous minority partners, we saw the opportunity to consolidate the shareholding of the company through a structured financing solution. We believe Aquafil is well placed to benefit from the continuous consolidation process in its market, where the company has seen its market share consistently increase over recent years. We are also delighted to continue working with Mauro and his team whom we knew well at Hutton Collins and with whom we are now delighted to work at their new venture Three Hills Capital Partners.

Mauro Moretti, founder and Managing Partner of Three Hills Capital Partners, commented: “Over the last seven years, the Three Hills Capital Partners team has successfully worked with a range of entrepreneurial businesses. This investment in Aquafil marks the third deployment of capital from our debut fund, which closed in October. We have been close to Aquafil for the last five years. They represent perfectly what THCP is looking for in the businesses that it backs – a group of highly skilled professionals that have built a market leading position in their niche thanks to a focused and innovative approach to the manufacturing process.

Legal assistance in the operation was provided by Linklaters on behalf of Three Hills Capital Partners, and Freshfields on behalf of Aquafil. Clifford Chance and Paolo Nicolai acted as structuring advisers.