Battery drives into fleet management; Manufacturing and tech sectors busy

‘Businesses are increasingly choosing to digitise fleet operations to cope with rising labour and fuel costs, adapt to the electrification of fleets and manage compliance in an ever-changing regulatory environment,’ said Battery’s Zak Ewen.

Good morning Eurohubsters, Craig McGlashan here filling in for Nina Lindholm with the last Dealflow of the week.

We’ve seen healthy dealmaking activity this week, hopefully setting us up well for the rest of the year. We’ll round up some of those deals today, in sectors including transportation, manufacturing and tech, as well as giving a shoutout to the latest episode of our podcast series. 

Fleeting trend. Battery Ventures made a combined growth-equity investment in a pair of cloud-software companies that operate in the European fleet-management sector.

Berlin’s Vimcar and Zurich’s Avrios provide what Battery calls “complementary software solutions for forward-thinking, European businesses managing fleets of vehicles – as well as certain professionals – to monitor their fleet operations, track vehicles, manage costs, reduce emissions and comply with local regulations”.

The two firms have over 250 employees and tens of thousands of customers in industries such as construction, technical field services, healthcare, manufacturing and government.

Battery’s plan is to eventually merge the two SaaS companies to create a large, pan-European firm that could make additional acquisitions.

“We see significant growth potential for the European fleet-management market, where businesses are increasingly choosing to digitise fleet operations to cope with rising labour and fuel costs, adapt to the electrification of fleets and manage compliance in an ever-changing regulatory environment,” said Battery principal Zak Ewen in a statement.

Battery is an investment firm that works in markets including software and services, enterprise infrastructure, consumer tech, healthcare IT and industrial technology and life-science tools. It invests at seed, early-to-growth and buyout stages. It has offices in Boston, San Francisco, Menlo Park, New York, London and Tel Aviv.

Battery’s investments weren’t the only deals link to transport management we saw this week.

Equistone took a majority stake in BUKO Infrasupport and BUKO Waakt, providers of outsourced traffic and safety management systems in the Netherlands. BUKO Transport was not included in the transaction.

BUKO Infrasupport, headquartered in Barendrecht, specialises in offering end-to-end outsourced temporary traffic management systems.

Check out full coverage of that deal here.

For a more in-depth look at private equity investments in transportation, check out PE Hub Europe’s interview in December with Cube Infrastructure Managers’ Brice Masselot about his firm’s purchase of two temperature-controlled logistics companies.

Cool deal. Sticking with temperature controls, Mutares sold its portfolio company JAPY Tech, a manufacturer of milk cooling products. The Dijon, France-based firm’s management bought the company from Mutares.

The sale exceeded Mutares’ target of a 7-10x ROIC, according to a statement from CIO Johannes Laumann. “The exit of JAPY Tech proves that we have successfully transformed the company together with the management, now ready to continue a sustainable growth path as a standalone company led by its management onsite,” he added.

Mutares bought JAPY Tech from GEA Farm Technologies in 2020. During Mutares’ ownership, the firm “optimised its product mix and increased its overall efficiency while reducing costs”, according to the statement.

That deal wasn’t the only exit in the manufacturing sector we saw this week.

Deutsche Beteiligungs’s DBAG Fund V sold Heytex, a manufacturer of technical textiles serving various end markets, to Bencis, an investor with offices in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium.

Read more on that deal here.

Tech charge. Perhaps the busiest sector in terms of our coverage this week was technology, much of which had a financial services flavour.

Intermediate Capital Group-backed With Intelligence acquired CAMRADATA, a data and analysis service for institutional investors, from Punter Southall.

We have more on that deal here.

Parabellum Investment’s portfolio company, Parseq, has acquired the TALL Group, a provider of secure print and payment systems.

Based in Runcorn in England, the TALL Group counts major UK banks and blue-chip companies among its clients, according to Parseq. These clients will be incorporated into Parseq’s global client base, which includes telecoms operators, utility providers and FTSE 100 financial services companies.

For more on that deal, see here.

Weekend listening. And finally, in the third episode of our miniseries Private Markets and the End of Cheap Money, Andy Thomson, senior editor of affiliate title Private Debt Investor, and Robin Blumenthal, Americas editor of PDI explore key trends in private debt with Churchill’s Randy Schwimmer, Oaktree’s Milwood Hobbs Jr and more.

They discovered much optimism as the banks once again pull back from lending activities – widening the space for private debt to move into. They were also told of the difficulties borrowers are likely to face as rising rates put pressure on their ability to service debt. It’s a mixed picture as the asset class heads into a new year.

Listen to the podcast here.

And in case you missed them, listen to episode one on dealmaking here and episode two on the LP view here.

That’s it from me. Have a great weekend and we’ll speak again on Monday.