Ardian Agrees to Buy JLT’s Stake in Siaci St Honoré

Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group plc announced that Ardian has agreed to buy JLT’s 26.2 percent stake in Milestone, the holding company of Siaci St Honoré, JLT’s French associate. This offer extends to all shareholders, JLT said.

The transaction will be submitted to Siaci St Honoré’s Works Council, as required under French law, and is subject to the signing of a definitive sale agreement by all parties and the approval of antitrust authorities.

Siaci St Honoré is one of the largest providers of insurance broking and employee benefits services in France with a growing international expatriate healthcare business.

The announcement follows the decision by Siaci St Honoré’s shareholders to exit or reduce their holdings and seek a new majority investor to finance the business’ expansion plans. Ardian, formerly known as Axa Private Equity, is a leading independent private investment company based in France with assets of US$50 billion managed or advised in Europe, North America and Asia.

Siaci St Honoré and JLT have a longstanding specialty focused trading relationship that goes back over 20 years, JLT said. The two businesses will continue to work together on a significant number of joint ventures and initiatives in areas including energy, construction, marine & cargo and credit & political risk, as well as service shared international clients on a global basis.

Siaci St Honoré will remain the exclusive partner of the JLT International Network in France alongside JLT’s other fully owned, associate and network partners in Europe and around the world.

The proposed transaction will create an approximate exceptional gain for JLT of £21 million in 2015, with the net proceeds of £82.1 million being payable in cash and used to repay borrowings. Milestone’s (the holding company of Siaci St Honoré) gross assets as at 31st December 2013 were £457 million. Profit before tax for the 12 months to 31st December 2013 was £24 million and its contribution as an associate to JLT was £5 million.

Commenting on the transaction, Dominic Burke, group chief executive of JLT, said: “Ardian is one of the pre-eminent private equity investors in the European market and are well placed to take the business forward. We are pleased that we have been able to secure a very attractive price for our stake while ensuring a continued commercial and strategic relationship with Siaci St Honoré and its people to the benefit of all of our clients and people.”

The transaction is expected to complete by the end of April 2015.

Source: Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group plc