Bregal Unternehmerkapital hits €1bn capital gains with EA exit

Triton completes Caverion bid.

I started this week by talking about exits and today, we’ve got a bit more on that. My colleague Irien Joseph spoke with Bregal Unternehmerkapital’s co-founder and managing partner Florian Schick about the firm’s sale of EA Elektro-Automatik to Fortive Corporation, getting details on IRR and returns.

Out of the take-private deals we’ve been following, Triton’s pursuit of Finnish construction company Caverion has seen the most plot twists. The saga is nearly at an end, as we have possibly one of the last updates on the deal.

We’ll finish up with a deal in the CEE region, an area we’ve heard is of increasing interest to private equity. Stokado, owned by Redefine Properties and Griffin Capital Partners, has acquired a Polish self-storage rental company.

Double digits

Kicking off with a deep dive into an exit. PE Hub Europe’s Irien Joseph spoke with Florian Schick, co-founder and managing partner of Bregal Unternehmerkapital (BU) about the firm’s sale of EA Elektro-Automatik, an electronic test and measurement device provider.

BU announced in late October that it would sell EA to Fortive Corporation for an enterprise value of €1.58 billion. The sale generated a 76 percent IRR and returned over €1 billion in capital gains.

EA’s evolution from a “European technology leader” to a “global market leader” was aided by its “significant” expansion into the US and Asia, which accelerated EA’s international sales and marketing activities, Schick told Irien. The firm acquired EA from its founders via its BU II fund in 2019.

Viersen, Germany-based EA’s revenues grew from €56 million in 2019 to around €170 million in 2023, which was achieved purely organically with no add-on acquisitions, he added.

The firm achieved this growth by investing in EA’s infrastructure as well as capabilities. “One of our first decisions in 2020 was to double EA’s production capacity,” said Schick. “Although this is rather unusual for a financial investor, it’s something that’s common across our industrial tech transactions.”

I recommend reading Irien’s full story, which covers BU’s deal pipeline and thoughts on the current market. You can find the story here.

Since we’re on the topic of BU’s pipeline, the firm just snapped up a majority stake in Billbee, a cloud-based ecommerce software provider.

Finnish line

As a Finn, I can’t believe I just used that subheading, but it is fitting. Frequent Dealflow readers are likely familiar with Triton’s bid to take Finnish construction company Caverion private. We have one more update on that process.

Triton announced it has completed the public tender offer for Caverion, and the firm now owns 94.39 percent of the Caverion shares.

“We are very happy to be the majority owners of Caverion, which is a great company,” said Mikael Aro, operating partner at Triton. “We are also excited about it as an excellent investment, supported by our long-standing expertise in this sector and Triton’s ability to drive repeatable value creation. We look forward to helping Caverion reach its full potential with a greater emphasis on operational excellence in its core business, developing and continuing its digital and energy management leadership, allowing Caverion to accelerate growth through select acquisitions.”

The journey to get to this point has seen many twists and turns, most notably Caverion’s board switching its support to Triton from a rival bid by Bain Capital.

If you want to catch up with the battle for Caverion, you can read some of our previous coverage here. Earlier in the year, Craig McGlashan also wrote a piece on the rival offers and antitrust issues. You can read that story here.

Packaged deal

Let’s take a look at one more deal, this time in Central and Eastern Europe. Stokado, owned by Redefine Properties and Griffin Capital Partners, has acquired Top Box, a self-storage rental company.

Top Box is based in Warsaw, Poland.

Griffin Capital will act as Top Box’s asset manager, while Stokado’s founders will remain involved as minority shareholders and the company’s management team.

Top Box’s acquisition has added 4,500 sqm in Warsaw to Stokado’s current portfolio, which now stands at 25,000 square metres of operating assets, according to a release.

Griffin Capital, together with Redefine Properties, acquired a majority stake in Stokado in April.

“Stokado is the latest investment platform in our portfolio through which Griffin Capital Partners has entered the young and promising self-storage industry, diversifying its investment portfolio,” said Marek Obuchowicz, partner at Griffin Capital. “… It marks the company’s entrance into the Warsaw market and aligns perfectly with Stokado’s strategy of consistently strengthening its market position in major Polish cities.”

For those interested in a deep dive in the CEE region, take a look at Craig McGlashan’s story with Sandberg Capital’s partner Michal Rybovič. For an energy-focused outlook on the region, you can read my piece with Actis’ Jaroslava Korpanec here.