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Saratoga Partners in Agreement to Buy Printing Inks Business From BP

Press release from the issuing company

NEW YORK, Jan. 7 -- Saratoga Partners, the New York private-equity investment firm, announced today it had signed a definitive agreement to acquire Sericol, the specialty printing inks business of BP subsidiary Burmah Castrol plc, in a transaction valued at approximately $115 million in cash and assumed debt. Sericol is the world leader in the production of premium inks and other consumables for the screen-printing industry and also offers strong technical and advisory services. It is known for the quality of its products and services and is a technology leader in such high-growth areas as UV and digital inks. It had sales of more than $200 million in 2002. "Sericol fits very well in our focus area of manufacturing companies with niche characteristics and technological and market leadership," said Christian Oberbeck, managing director of Saratoga Partners. "It is exactly the kind of company we are looking to invest in because of its outstanding franchise, the strength and commitment of its management team and its prospects for superior earnings growth." Sericol's existing management team, including Chief Executive Ed Carhart, will remain with the company and are participating in the transaction, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2003. Carhart commented: "We now have a partner in Saratoga that is fully aligned, supportive and committed to providing the resources we need to further grow and expand our business." Sericol is a multinational company with a significant presence in developing areas, such as the Asia Pacific region. The company's main manufacturing facilities are in Kansas City, Missouri, and Broadstairs, England. It also has plants in Australia, India, China and Brazil and has 1,200 employees worldwide. BP had acquired Sericol when it bought Burmah Castrol in 2000. Debt financing for the transaction was arranged and underwritten by Scotia Capital in London. "Saratoga's financial expertise led us to access the European market where we were able to achieve attractive financing," Oberbeck said. Saratoga Partners is a leading middle-market private-equity investment firm with $750 million of committed and invested institutional equity capital. It invests in businesses with strong management teams and valuations of between $50 million and $500 million, specializing in companies in manufacturing, business-services and media and telecommunications industries. Since Saratoga Partners was founded in 1984 as a division of the New York investment firm Dillon, Read & Co., Inc., it has invested in 29 companies with an aggregate value of more than $3.5 billion. It has been an independent firm since 1998 after Dillon, Read was acquired by Swiss Bank Corporation (a predecessor to UBS AG).