3 questions to smart minds

What development do you expect for the PE market in 2021?

For this 3 questions to Felix Homann

Novum Capi­tal
Photo: Felix Homann
23. March 2021

You can see a lot more acti­vity in the market again. Private equity houses are now better able to assess the impact of the pande­mic on their port­fo­lios and take coun­ter­me­a­su­res if neces­sary. There is still a lot of invest­ment capi­tal in the market, which is why finan­cial inves­tors are once again step­ping up tran­sac­tions. How will the market deve­lop this year?

For this 3 ques­ti­ons to Felix Homann, Part­ner at Novum Capi­tal in Frank­furt am Main

1. What deve­lo­p­ment do you expect for the PE market in 2021? How many deals are you aiming for in 2021?

Tradi­tio­nal corpo­rate buyers — whether private equity funds or corpo­ra­ti­ons — still have a lot of money. For this reason in parti­cu­lar, I expect to conti­nue to see many tran­sac­tions in Germany. Deal flow may even be incre­asing because more compa­nies need fresh equity as a result of the econo­mic crisis and corpo­ra­ti­ons are acce­le­ra­ting the dive­st­ment of non-core businesses.

Howe­ver, the future of many buy candi­da­tes, espe­ci­ally in cycli­cal indus­tries is much more uncer­tain due to the Corona crisis, but buy prices are often still rela­tively high. We scru­ti­nize very criti­cally which compa­nies offe­red to us for purchase we would like to acquire. But, of course, the fact remains that our mission is to invest — even in diffi­cult times.

This year we have alre­ady reali­zed two sales: the Krefeld-based slag recy­cler C.C. Umwelt and the marzi­pan manu­fac­tu­rer Schluck­wer­der. If two more purcha­ses were added in 2021, we would be on target. Of course, we would like to exceed this plan. Our new fund provi­des us with 150 million euros in equity for four to six transactions.

2. If private equity firms have a lot of money, what’s the problem if tran­sac­tion prices are high?

The higher the price paid for a company, the more ambi­tious the busi­ness plans must be with which the company can meet the inves­tors’ return expec­ta­ti­ons — initi­ally in theory. But when ambi­tion gets out of hand, the pres­sure on manage­ment and the entire work­force increa­ses enorm­ously. And when busi­ness plans fail because they were over­am­bi­tious, ever­yone invol­ved has to pay the price: the employees, the lenders, the fund mana­gers and their backers, pension funds and insu­rance compa­nies, for example.

3. They say Novum Capi­tal has alre­ady made wort­hwhile bargains? What makes you stand out?

We have never made bargains — even if, in retro­s­pect, it may look that way to outsi­ders when we sell a port­fo­lio company. Unfort­u­na­tely, such assess­ments rarely take into account the entre­pre­neu­rial risks we have taken toge­ther with the execu­ti­ves of our port­fo­lio compa­nies, how many nerves we have left behind in change proces­ses, and how much capi­tal we have inves­ted in tech­no­lo­gi­cal and busi­ness impro­ve­ments. Bargain — this is really a super­fi­cial term in our business.

We are looking for compa­nies for the Novum Capi­tal port­fo­lio that gene­rate at least five million euros in EBITDA per year. We see our poten­tial in mid caps. There, top-notch mana­gers, large consul­ting budgets, sophisti­ca­ted stra­te­gies and opera­tio­nal effi­ci­ency are not ubiqui­tous. Other­wise, most of the compa­nies for sale would proba­bly not be on offer. It is in these defi­cits that the design and value enhance­ment poten­tial we are looking for lies.

Novum Capi­tal is expe­ri­en­ced in solving a wide variety of busi­ness problems and helping to shape stra­te­gies for success. And we have the capa­city to contri­bute know-how as well as capi­tal. Parti­cu­larly in the case of smal­ler compa­nies, we can contri­bute a great deal in a rela­tively short period of time to main­tain these compa­nies, promote their expan­sion and ulti­m­ately increase their value in the long term.

About Novum Capital

Novum Capi­tal invests capi­tal from German and inter­na­tio­nal pension funds, pension plans and foun­da­ti­ons in medium-sized compa­nies with annual sales of up to 200 million euros. In this way, Novum Capi­tal helps to ensure that the inves­tors can conti­nue to provide finan­ci­ally for their bene­fi­ci­a­ries and/or pursue their foundation’s purpose to the fullest extent possible.

Novum Capi­tal supports its port­fo­lio compa­nies in impro­ving their market posi­tion, incre­asing their profi­ta­bi­lity, expan­ding the bene­fits of their busi­ness models for society — and incre­asing enter­prise value. To achieve this, Novum Capi­tal also invests busi­ness know-how — and passion.

About Felix Homann

Felix Homann has been with Novum Capi­tal since 2012. He has been instru­men­tal in shaping the company — in parti­cu­lar the deve­lo­p­ment of invest­ments on a deal-by-deal basis to the first two insti­tu­tio­nal invest­ment funds (2017 and 2020) with a total fund volume of 225 million euros. Intern­ally, he coor­di­na­tes in parti­cu­lar invest­ments in the sectors: Services,

Energy and Envi­ron­ment, Health­care and Phar­maceu­ti­cals, Soft­ware and IT.

Prior to joining Novum Capi­tal, he worked for the US invest­ment bank Gold­man Sachs. — Felix Homann holds a Master of Engi­nee­ring in Elec­tri­cal and Elec­tro­nic Engi­nee­ring from Impe­rial College London and is a CFA® Char­ter­hol­der. During his studies he was a scho­lar­ship holder of the German Natio­nal Acade­mic Foundation.

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