April 2, 2019 / 2:14 PM / in 3 months

Bankers line up SFr1bn of loans for potential VFS sale

LONDON, April 2 (LPC) - Bankers are working on debt packages of around SFr1bn to back a potential sale of outsourcing firm VFS as sponsors get set to submit bids in an auction process, banking sources said.

EQT put VFS up for sale earlier this year, hiring investment bank Lazard to run the process, which could see the company fetch up to 15 times earnings at SFr2.4bn. EQT could also consider a stock market listing.

Sponsors including Cinven and Partners Group, CVC, Hellman and Friedman, Onex, PAI Partners and Permira are expected to submit bids at the end of April, after a large number of firms made it through a qualifying stage.

A further and final round is expected to follow with the process concluding in May, unless a knockout bid is offered in April.

All of the private equity firms were either not available to comment or declined to comment.

Bankers are preparing debt financings of up to 7.5 times VFS’ approximate SFr160m Ebitda, totalling SFr1bn-SFr1.2bn in the form of senior and subordinated leveraged loans denominated in euros and dollars.

Dubai-headquartered VFS is a subsidiary of Swiss-headquartered Kuoni Group, which was acquired by EQT in 2016. After selling off GTA to Cinven-owned Hotelbeds and Global Travel Services to JTB Corporation, EQT expanded VFS with a series of add-on acquisitions.

VFS provides visa and passport services to governments and diplomatic missions worldwide. (Editing by Christopher Mangham)

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