LONDON - 3i, Azelis and Apax Partners announced that Atlas Holding S.A., the holding company of the Azelis Group, has signed a binding agreement to sell the Azelis Group, a pan-European specialty chemical distributor, to funds advised by Apax Partners, a global private equity firm. The deal is subject to regulatory clearances and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2015.

3i and funds managed by 3i acquired a majority stake in Azelis in 2007. Since then, Azelis has transformed from a decentralized European business into an integrated group, operating under the Azelis brand, serving customers and principals in the coatings, chemicals, rubber and plastic additives, food and health, animal nutrition, pharma, and personal care industries.

During this period, Azelis has grown both organically and through acquisitions, significantly expanding its geographic footprint in the UK, Benelux, and Central and Eastern Europe. It has also successfully entered the Asian chemical distribution market, opening several offices in China, Japan and Southeast Asia. Substantial operational improvements were also implemented across the organization.

Apax Partners, together with the existing management team, intends to continue Azelis' strategic focus on growing the business through ongoing development of its specialist product portfolio and continuing to extend its global reach, both organically and through acquisitions. Apax Partners looks forward to working with Hans-Joachim Müller, Chief Executive Officer and Azelis' employees, to achieve the full potential of the business over the years ahead.