* Deal flow slow so far this year
* Falls to loss on investments, higher costs
* Stock down 1.8 pct
By Cameron French
TORONTO, May 10 Onex Corp, one of
Canada's biggest private equity firms, fell to a net loss in the
first quarter, but said on Friday it is seeing acquisition
opportunities in Europe one year after opening an office in
The opportunities in Europe come as North American deals
have been hard to come by early this year, Chief Executive Gerry
Schwartz said on a conference call with analysts and investors.
While Onex made five acquisitions worth a total of $1.5
billion in the fourth quarter of 2012, it has announced just one
deal so far this year, the $950 million acquisition of the trade
show business of Nielsen Holdings NV unveiled earlier this week.
"It seems that many business leaders have been holding on to
their existing assets, and are reluctant to sell even non-core
assets," said Schwartz.
Onex opened the London office last summer and has since been
adding staff and building relationships. Managing director
Anthony Munk said the work is starting to pay off as
opportunities surface amid a challenging business environment.
"There's clearly a number of financial sponsors who are
owners of businesses that are finding it challenging to take
those companies public and as a results they're pursuing the
outright sale of those businesses," Munk said.
He said Onex's areas of interest in the region included
industrials, building products, and health care.
Toronto-based Onex owns stakes in several companies,
including electronics manufacturer Celestica Inc and
Spirit Aerosystems, as manages a handful of private
It has about $1.3 billion in cash and near-cash items, and
will begin fundraising for its Onex Partners IV fund later this
FALLS TO LOSS
Onex lost $271 million, or C$2.71 a share, in the three
months ended March 31, compared with a profit of C$173 million,
or 51 cents in the year-before period.
Revenue rose 6 percent to $7.2 billion. However, cost of
sales and operating expenses both rose, while the net increase
in value of investments in joint ventures and associates fell 55
percent to C$276 million.
The company's shares were down 1.8 percent at C$49.07 on the
Toronto Stock Exchange.