European Capital

European Capital Portfolio Company Marco Polo Foods Acquires 51% Stake of Wakame Foods

    St. Peter Port, Guernsey (ots/PRNewswire) -

    European Capital SA SICAR, a wholly-owned subsidiary of European Capital Limited (LSE: ECAS) ("European Capital"), announced today that its portfolio company Marco Polo Foods, the leading producer in the European commercial sushi market, has acquired a 51 percent stake of Wakame Foods, one of the largest fresh sushi manufacturers and distributors in Germany. The financing is being provided by a pool of existing senior lenders for Marco Polo led by Fortis.

    "We expect Marco Polo, one of our high-performing portfolio companies, to solidify a leading position in the European retail sushi market," said Jean Eichenlaub, Senior Vice President of European Capital Financial Services. "The acquisition of Wakame adds fresh sushi to Marco Polo's product offering and also secures its position in Germany, the third largest sushi market in Europe."

    European Capital has invested over euro 1.5 billion (US$2.3 billion) in the last twelve months and euro 18 million (US$26.5 million) year to date. European Capital has assisted in the refinance or syndication of euro 358 million (US$528 million) of senior debt for its portfolio companies in the last twelve months. For more information about European Capital's portfolio, go to

    "This acquisition will enable Marco Polo to utilize significant industrial and business synergies, enhancing its leadership position in both fresh and frozen sushi markets," said Guillaume Peroz, Manager, European Capital Financial Services. "Marco Polo Foods' outstanding management, led by Jean-Charles Halimi, has a track record of successful strategic acquisitions and on-going organic growth."

    European Capital originally invested euro 29 million in the One Stop Buyout(TM) of Marco Polo in November 2005. In June 2006, European Capital syndicated an euro 11 million senior term loan and euro 1.2 million in equity. Marco Polo was established in 1999 as the first commercial producer of fresh and frozen sushi products to the French and European retail markets. The Company's ISO certified manufacturing facility is located approximately 200 kilometers south of Paris in Contres, near Blois, France, where it operates from a top quality controlled production site. The Company produces six million pieces of sushi a month and has consistently grown sales and earnings.

    Founded in 2003, Wakame manufactures and distributes fresh sushi to German food retailers and is one of the largest fresh sushi players in Germany. Wakame operates a modern, newly-built 1,300 square meters production site located in Kerpen, near Koln, Germany.

    "We are excited about the acquisition of Wakame," said Jean-Charles Halimi, Marco Polo Founder and CEO. "We hope that Wakame will benefit from our eight years of success and high operational and financial standards and are looking forward to developing the company with its highly experienced manager, Christian Kraft. This acquisition marks the start of what we hope to be a robust European expansion."

    "Wakame's integration with Marco Polo will further help to strengthen our leading position in Germany, Benelux, Switzerland and Austria," said Christian Kraft, CEO of Wakame. "Top quality products, high processing and hygienic standards and customer service are important to both our Company and our customers."


    European Capital is a publicly traded investment company for pan-European equity, mezzanine and senior debt investments with capital resources of approximately euro 2.3 billion (US$3.3 billion). It is managed by European Capital Financial Services (Guernsey) Limited ("ECFSG" or "the Investment Manager"), a wholly-owned affiliate of American Capital Strategies, Ltd ("American Capital").

    European Capital invests in and sponsors management and employee buyouts, invests in private equity buyouts and provides capital directly to private and public companies headquartered predominantly in Europe. European Capital generally invests between euro 5 million and euro 500 million per transaction in equity, mezzanine debt and senior debt to fund growth, acquisitions and recapitalisations.

    The investment objective of European Capital is to provide investors with dividend income and the potential for share value appreciation by investing in debt and equity investments in private and public companies headquartered primarily in Europe. European Capital seeks to achieve this through pursuing the following types of investments:

    European Capital One Stop Buyouts(TM)

    Through our One Stop Buyouts(TM), European Capital provides equity, mezzanine debt and senior debt as the lead investor in the buyout of private and public companies.

    Mezzanine Direct with Sponsors

    European Capital provides debt and equity financing for buyouts sponsored by private equity firms where European Capital is either the sole or lead mezzanine debt investor.

    Syndicated Mezzanine and Senior Debt

    European Capital provides mezzanine and senior financing for buyouts sponsored by private equity firms where European Capital is neither the sole nor lead mezzanine or senior debt investor.

    Direct Investments

    European Capital provides debt and equity financing directly to private and public companies, which is used for growth, acquisitions or recapitalisations, and investing in structured finance vehicles.

    Companies interested in learning more about European Capital's flexible financing should contact Jean Eichenlaub at +33-(0)1-40-68-06-66 in Paris, Nathalie Faure Beaulieu or Simon Henderson at +44-(0)20-7539-7000 in London, Robert von Finckenstein at +49-(0)69-7171-2970 in Frankfurt, or Luis Felipe Castellanos at +34-91-745-99-63 in Madrid, or visit the website at


    American Capital Strategies Ltd. (Nasdaq: ACAS), with US$20 billion in capital resources assets under management(1), is an affiliate of European Capital and a member of the S&P 500. It is the largest U.S. publicly traded private equity firm and one of the largest publicly traded alternative asset managers. American Capital, both directly and through its global asset management business, is an investor in management and employee buyouts, private equity buyouts, and early stage and mature private and public companies. American Capital provides senior debt, mezzanine debt and equity to fund growth, acquisitions, recapitalizations and securitizations. American Capital and its affiliates invest from US$5 million to US$800 million per company in North America and euro 5 million to euro 500 million per company in Europe.

    This press release contains forward-looking statements. The statements regarding expected results of European Capital and/or American Capital are subject to various factors and uncertainties, including the uncertainties associated with the timing of transaction closings, changes in interest rates, availability of transactions, changes in regional, national or international economic conditions, or changes in the conditions of the industries in which European Capital and/or American Capital has made investments.

@@start.t1@@      (1) Capital resources under management is an estimate of internally and
            externally managed assets and available capital resources as of
            November 30, 2007 and does not include any fair value adjustments
            subsequent to September 30, 2007.
      Web site:

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