30. September 2015
For this 3 questions to Head of Acquisitions GESCO AG in Wuppertal
1. Its strategy is to acquire and develop healthy, industrial mid-sized companies. They have a strong technology focus. What does it take to identify champions from technology-driven SMEs?
On the one hand, we receive offers via an established network of consultants, associations and medium-sized institutions; on the other hand, we also conduct intensive screening of industries and regions and are increasingly actively approaching entrepreneurs or companies. Decades of experience, our established “brand” and industry focus help us achieve this.
“Hidden champions” for us are established, technology-driven medium-sized companies that hold a leading position in their market segment. The following applies: niches are better than mass markets, and technology leadership is better than price leadership. Of course, the companies should not only have a successful history, but also have the potential to develop positively under the GESCO umbrella.
2. GESCO sees itself as a long-term oriented acquirer of a company. How do you develop a company? Which aspects play a role?
Under the umbrella of a listed corporation, companies can usually act much more dynamically in terms of (growth) financing than in the hands of a private individual. The respective managing directors are responsible for the day-to-day business, but beyond that the holding company provides support, for example, in strategic decisions and major investments, in internationalization and in M&A. Very importantly, being part of an industry group with similar “brothers and sisters” breaks down the isolation in which many sole proprietors operate. The much-vaunted networking has been part of our DNA since our founding 26 years ago.
3. Does GESCO see itself as a buy-and-build holding company? When will you think about selling a portfolio company again?
Buy-and-build in the classic PE sense — buying together value chains, merging companies, leveraging synergies — is not
our business. The companies will remain independent “speedboats” after the takeover by GESCO. So buy-and-hold is more like it, but sounds too passive. We certainly strive for active further development of the companies. This applies to organic growth, but can also include M&A at subsidiary level, for example the acquisition of a competitor abroad.
When we think of divestments, it is not for the sake of exit profit, but at best for strategic reasons. The exit is decidedly not
part of the business model, and we do not want to damage our reputation as a long-term investor. But the world is changing, and we must retain flexibility in strategic matters.
As an investment company, GESCO AG acquires profitable, strategically interesting medium-sized industrial companies. Since its foundation in 1989, a strong group of hidden champions, market and technology leaders has been built up. In terms of diversification, the customer industries are broadly diversified. Especially in terms of sustainability the company wants to clearly distinguish itself from classic financial investors: “Deeply anchored in GESCO’s ‘DNA’, it determines our actions: We continue to implement proven business models and develop them further. Our central task is to exploit growth potential and secure the Group’s long-term future viability.” — GESCO went public on 24 March 1998.
After his studies at the RWTH Aachen (mechanical engineering) he worked in a technical-organizational consulting company in the field of mechanical and plant engineering. He then became managing director and head of logistics for various international production plants at an Evonik subsidiary in the power plant sector. In 2000, change to the private equity business, since then active in various private equity companies (minority/majority/buy-out/succession). Active in committees (advisory board/supervisory board) in addition to operational activities. Since September 2014, he has been responsible for M&A.die Börse as Head of Acquisitions at GESCO AG.