Montana backs Italian PE management buyout

The firm used its 2015-vintage fund to back the private equity arm of Banca Popolare di Vicenza, which was one of the country's largest retail and corporate banks.

Montana Capital Partners has closed a deal in which it backed the management buyout of troubled Italian bank Banca Popolare di Vicenza‘s private equity business Nem.

The Swiss secondaries firm used its 2015-vintage €400 million mcp Secondary Opportunity Program III to invest in an entity that purchased 100 percent of the share capital of Nem, the private equity business of Banca Popolare, according to a source familiar with the transaction.

The entity, listed as LRW in a notice from the liquidators who were in the process of winding down the bank’s operations, is managed by Nem’s management team.

The transaction closed in January.

At the same time, Banca Popolare, which was Nem’s only limited partner, sold its stakes in the firm’s three funds to a vehicle named Nem Imprese III, which is controlled by the management team and again backed by Montana.

Remaining net asset value in Nem’s funds was around €50 million and comprised holdings in 15 companies, according to a source familiar with the matter. The assets include leather goods manufacturer Braccialini, plastic packaging manufacturer Taplast and developer of electronic safety systems for the auto industry Metasystem.

Nem’s funds are the €115 million Nem Imprese II buyout fund, which is still in its investment period; the €131 million Industrial Opportunity mezzanine fund and the fully invested €30 million Nem Imprese buyout fund, according to its website.

Banca Popolare and sister bank Veneto Banco were put into compulsory liquidation in June 2016 by the ministry of economy and finance, at the behest of the Italian central bank.

Some of the banks’ assets were picked up by Italy’s largest banking group Intesa Sanpaolo, and Banca Popolare’s private equity arm was among those given to liquidators to sell through a competitive process.

It is unclear which other firms bid for Nem.

London-headquartered Elm Capital advised Banca Popolare on the transaction, according to the liquidators’ note.

Nem is led by Luca Maurizio Duranti who has been with the private equity business since 2011, having been Banca Popolare’s head of structured finance and prior to that its head of corporate finance, according to the firm’s website.

Montana declined to comment. Elm and Nem did not return requests for comment by press time.