Onex Corp sees acquisition opportunities in Europe

Fri May 10, 2013 1:08pm EDT
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* 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 (Reuters) - 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 London.

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.   Continued...