Advent buys German electronics group Moeller

The global private equity house has paid an undisclosed sum for one of Germany’s largest privately-owned industrial and building electronics component producers.

Advent International, the global private equity firm, has made its first German investment in more than a year with the acquisition of Moeller Group, the Bonn-headquartered industrial electronics group.

Financial details have not been disclosed for the acquisition of the business, which employs around 11,000 employees worldwide and generates annual revenues of approximately E1bn from 32 production facilities. Moeller distributes industrial and buildings electronic component products, selling directly to industry, distributors and wholesalers.

The family-owned business has been looking to secure a buyer for over a year to appease a consortium of creditor banks. It was thought to have reached agreement with CVC Capital Partners earlier this year, having entered into exclusive negotiations with the London-based firm.

Despite the company’s financial difficulties, Advent general manager Ralf Huep, who led the deal, described Moeller as 'a world-class business' with a strong market position and customer base. “Moeller has great future potential,” he said in a statement. “Our plan is to work with the management to refocus the business on its core strengths, to increase its market penetration, and to take advantage of global growth markets. We will continue the streamlining process which was initiated by the company several months ago.”

Financing for the transaction has been arranged by a consortium led by Commerzbank. The existing management team of Theo Kubat (CEO), Robert Gaertner (CFO) and Joachim Goeddertz will be joined by two new board members, Uwe Alwardt and Dave McLemore, both of whom have experience of the electronics/industrial technology sector.

Prior to Moeller, Advent’s most recent investment in Germany was the E375m buyout of leading pharmaceuticals business, Viatris, from Degussa in August 2002.

The deal is the second large buyout to originate in Germany during the past month following Blackstone’s acquisition of waste disposal business Sulo. The purchase price for Sulo was not disclosed, although the business has an annual turnover of around E700m.