Gilde Buy Out Partners successfully closes third Buy Out Fund

Utrecht. Gilde Buy Out Partners, a leading mid-market buyout specialist with a focus on the Benelux and the French and German speaking regions, today announces the final closing of Gilde Buy Out Fund III ("GBO III") with total commitments at the original target of €600 million.

GBO III is among the larger dedicated mid-market buyout investment funds in Europe today and has received commitments from some 30 institutional investors worldwide. 76 per cent of commitments have come from existing investors including Access Capital Partners, the Kuwait Investment Office and Proventure. Rabobank, Gilde's anchor investor and former legal parent, committed a significant amount. In addition, GBO III has seen strong support from new investors including CAM Private Equity, Scottish Widows, Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen (Helaba) and F&C Asset Management.

GBO III will continue to follow its investment strategy of seeking to invest in mid-market buyouts in the Benelux and neighbouring economies through its offices in the Netherlands, France and Switzerland. The new fund will also consider the occasional larger buyout through co-investments with some of its LPs. Gilde Buy Out Partners' ability to identify and acquire high quality businesses is based on its regional and sector specialization with its seasoned and stable 16 person investment team.

To date, Gilde Buy Out Partners has invested in 47 companies across a diverse range of sectors, of which it has realized 32 and generated an IRR in excess of 37% and a consistent average cash multiple of 2.5x.

Natascha Jacobovits de Szeged, Investor Relations Officer, commented:

"We are very pleased with the interest shown in our third buyout fund, our first since Gilde Buy Out Partners became fully independent from our former owner Rabobank in 2005. Gilde has attracted strong investor support because of its consistent returns and focused investment strategy. It has stuck to the niche it knows well with a deal focus that has been profitable over multiple economic cycles. GBO III is approximately 20 per cent larger than its predecessor vehicle (2000 vintage fund GBO II) and was oversubscribed beyond its hard cap of €600 million. Many investors who are seeking to diversify away from the UK and get more regional European exposure have invested in Gilde. We are also proud to welcome our first US pension fund LPs, GE Pension Trust and New York State Common Retirement Fund. We are equally grateful for the high level of re-ups from our existing LPs in what is a busy but positive fundraising environment. The team looks forward to investing the new fund over the next four to five years and has already made its first two investments during 2006 (Heiploeg and Walter TeleMedien) and hopes to announce a third investment shortly".

Citigroup was the placement agent for GBO III and its legal advisors were Loyens & Loeff outside the USA and Ropes Gray in the USA.

contact:

Gilde Buyout Partners
Natascha Jacobovits de Szeged
Investor Relations Officer
+31 30 219 2535

Citigroup Global Markets
Stephen Murphy
Managing Director
+44 20 7986 7086

Loyens and Loeff
Joep Ottervanger
Attorney at Law
+31 20 578 5979

Financial Dynamics
Andrew Dowler
Managing Director
+44 20 7831 3113