June 2022: Kester Capital, the primary buyout specialist, today announced that it has signed an agreement to sell a majority stake in Avania to global private equity firm, Astorg. Avania is one of the leading global clinical CROs (“Contract Research Organisation”) dedicated to medical technology. Astorg’s Mid-Cap fund, alongside Kester who intend to retain a minority stake, will actively support management’s plans to accelerate Avania’s development, organically and through M&A.
The sale of Avania will deliver a return of over 8x and is the fifth consecutive exit for Kester to achieve a return of over 3x. The firm’s current fund, Kester Capital II, closed above target at its hard cap of £90 million in August 2020.
As a primary buy-out from the founders, Avania exemplifies the sort of business that Kester Capital seeks to back. Having facilitated the succession of the founders through the recruitment of a new senior leadership team led by Sapna Hornyak, Avania grew through a combination of organic investment as well as a series of strategic acquisitions to cement its leading position as a global provider of outsourced clinical trial services, specifically focused on medical technology. Since the original investment by Kester in 2016, EBITDA has grown over five times to over €10m in the current year.
Today, Avania covers the full regulatory lifecycle across a broad range of therapeutic areas. Headquartered in the Netherlands, and with eight offices across North America, Europe and Asia Pacific, Avania serves 300 medical device OEMs of different sizes through an integrated service offering including clinical trial management, biostatistics, regulatory consulting, data analytics, medical writing and reimbursement. Avania has delivered exceptional organic growth thanks to its differentiated proposition in a fast-growing market driven by innovation, increasing regulation and penetration of outsourcing.
Adam Maidment, Managing Partner of Kester Capital, said: “It has been a pleasure to work alongside Sapna and her team over the last 6 years building Avania into the leading medtech CRO platform. We are delighted to have the opportunity to invest alongside Astorg and continue our involvement in this exceptional business.”
Sapna Hornyak, CEO of Avania, said: “Since joining Avania in 2018, we have succeeded in building a unique global business in the medtech CRO space. Kester has been a valued and supportive partner in helping us achieve our ambitions and we look forward to having them as an investor in an exciting next chapter for the business.”
Edouard Pillot, Managing Partner of Astorg Mid-Cap, said: “We are extremely pleased to partner with Sapna and her team, as well as Kester, on this transaction. Being one of the global leaders in a profitable and fast-growing niche market, Avania squarely fits with Astorg’s investment criteria and we are delighted to have Avania as our first Mid-Cap Healthcare deal, sitting within Astorg’s broader Healthcare portfolio.”