Buyout firm Ambienta makes lucrative return on sale of Italy's Safim

European private equity firm Ambienta SGR said on Monday it had agreed to sell Italian hydraulic components specialist Safim to U.S. car parts maker DexKo Global.

By Pamela Barbaglia

LONDON, Sept 23 (Reuters) - European private equity firm Ambienta SGR said on Monday it had agreed to sell Italian hydraulic components specialist Safim to U.S. car parts maker DexKo Global.

The deal, whose value was not disclosed, generated an internal rate of return (IRR) of 80% for Ambienta, a source close to the buyout fund told Reuters, making it one of its most lucrative exits so far.

The private equity firm, which ranks as one of Europe's largest sustainability-focused investors, has made about 3.6 times its money since first investing in 2017, the source said.

Led by Nino Tronchetti Provera, Ambienta invests in a wide range of small and mid-cap industrial companies in Europe with a focus on sustainable growth and eco-friendly technology.

Last year it closed the fundraising of its third fund at the hard cap of 635 million euros ($698 million), well beyond its initial 500 million euro target.

Modena-based Safim makes highly engineered components for hydraulic systems equipped on off-highway vehicles.

Ambienta ploughed in cash from its 323.5 million euro second fund to take control of Safim from the founding Mamei family in July 2017.

Since coming onboard, the Milan-based private equity firm applied its so-called "ESG in action" programme to integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) management guidelines and practices into the company's day to day operations.

Ambienta also helped Safim reshuffle its management team by hiring senior executives and implementing a new organisational structure with clear roles and accountability.

"Safim represents a quintessential Ambienta deal," said founder Tronchetti Provera, pointing to the company's scaling up its presence "in a market driven by environmental trends."

($1 = 0.9098 euros)

(Reporting by Pamela Barbaglia; Editing by Susan Fenton)

((pamela.barbaglia@thomsonreuters.com; +442075427723; Reuters Messaging: pamela.barbaglia.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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