CF Group acquires Starline Group with Crédit Mutuel Equity
Wendlingen/ Valkenswaard (NL) — The Wendlingen am Neckar-based CF Group, the second largest swimming pool manufacturing and equipment company in Europe, acquires the Dutch Starline Group (“Starline”). Both companies announced today the closing of the transaction. CF Group thus increases its sales by more than 12 percent and opens up new customer segments in the Benelux market. In line with the continued rapid and successful growth and the still very promising outlook for CF Group, Crédit Mutuel Equity is investing additional capital in the company. Crédit Mutuel Equity is the international direct investment company of Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale and has already accompanied CF Group as an active minority shareholder since the merger with FIJA in 2019.
Based in Valkenswaard, the Netherlands, Starline Group has been developing, designing, manufacturing and distributing private swimming pools, pool covers and various pool equipment products since 1973, with a clear focus on the luxury segment. With eight brands, the company is mainly active in the Benelux countries and exports its products to 13 other countries. With more than 130 employees and five production sites in the Netherlands, Belgium and the United Kingdom, Starline 2021 generated sales of nearly 50 million euros.
CF Group was formed in 2019 by the merger of two family-owned companies, Chemoform (Germany) and FIJA (France), and has positioned itself as one of the leading companies in the manufacture and distribution of equipment for private and public swimming pools and consumables for water treatment. The company is represented in more than 40 countries with 15 brands and twelve production and logistics sites.
With the acquisition of Starline, CF Group is expanding its position on the Belgian, Dutch and British markets and strengthening its swimming pool cover business in particular. Starline generates more than half of its sales in this business area and has excellent product know-how and extensive market knowledge in this market segment. CF Group and Starline Group expect the transaction to create significant growth opportunities in cross-selling as well as potential for efficiency gains in sourcing. Starline CEO Victor de Vries will take a stake in the transaction in order to participate in its further development.
Cedrik Mayer-Klenk, CEO of Chemoform AG, said: “With this transaction, we are continuing our successful growth strategy of entering new markets or additional distribution channels by acquiring complementary companies or long-standing cooperation partners. Together with Starline, we are moving into a new order of magnitude. The basis for this step in the company’s development is our dynamic organic growth over the past three years and the support of Crédit Mutuel Equity, which contributed equity, market expertise and professional advice on M&A processes.”
Sébastien Neiss, Managing Director of Crédit Mutuel Equity in GermanySince our investment almost three years ago, CF Group has grown organically by around 30 percent and has significantly consolidated its position in the top three swimming pool equipment suppliers in Europe. We are of course happy to continue to accompany this success story and are increasing our investment for the second time since our investment in 2019 in order to use it to support projects such as the acquisition of Starline. As an investor that exclusively invests equity from our banking group, we have the opportunity to accompany our portfolio companies for as long as we wish and to let our investment grow along with the company.”
Advisor to the transaction:
For the CF Group
M&A: Alantra (Wolfram Schmerl, Dr. Sven Harmsen, Lodewijk Sodderland, Patrick Bobak)
Funding: Alantra (Robert von Finckenstein, Philipp Holst)
Legal: Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek (Rainer Herschlein, Benedikt Raisch), Kullen Müller Zinser (Dr. Andreas Beyer)
M&A: Rothschild & Co (Bastiaan Vaandrager, Fabien Lenoir, Pierre Schoonbrodt, Tim Snelders)
About CF Group
CF Group is a leading European company for swimming pool technology, maintenance and water treatment. The company was formed by the merger of Chemoform AG, founded in Wendlingen (Germany) in 1962, and the FIJA Group, founded in Brécé (France) in 1975. With its multi-brand portfolio, CF Group covers the entire spectrum from construction, equipment and maintenance to cleanliness, hygiene and care of private and public pools. The group employs more than 1,000 people, operates in more than 40 countries worldwide and generates sales of more than 300 million euros annually. www.chemoform.com
About Crédit Mutuel Equity
Crédit Mutuel Equity bundles the international direct investment business of the French banking group Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale. The subsidiary offers medium-sized companies solutions in all areas of equity financing.
At Crédit Mutuel Equity, the focus is on the relationship and close cooperation between the experienced investment team and the executives in the portfolio companies. With the long-term perspective of a fund-independent “evergreen” approach, the company has already been successful for 40 years.
Crédit Mutuel Equity currently has around 3 billion euros of equity invested, and its portfolio consists of around 300 companies. Since 2016, the company has expanded its activities to Canada (Montreal and Toronto), USA (New York and Boston), Germany (Frankfurt) and Switzerland (Geneva and Zurich). www.creditmutuel-equity.eu
About Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale
Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale is one of France’s leading banks with more than 75,000 employees serving 26.7 million customers. With a network of around 4,300 branches, Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale offers a comprehensive range of services for private customers, the self-employed and companies of all sizes. As one of Europe’s leading banking groups, its equity amounted to EUR 53.2 billion and its CET1 ratio was 18.8% as of December 30, 2021.
The Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale is composed of the Crédit Mutuel sub-associations Centre Est Europe (Strasbourg), Sud-Est (Lyon), Ile-de-France (Paris), Savoie-Mont Blanc (Annecy), Midi-Atlantique (Toulouse), Loire-Atlantique and Centre Ouest (Nantes), Centre (Orléans), Normandy (Caen), Dauphiné-Vivarais (Valence), Méditerranéen (Marseille), Anjou (Angers), Massif Central (Clermont-Ferrand), Antilles-Guyane (Fort-de-France) and Nord Europe (Lille).
Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale also includes Caisse Fédérale de Crédit Mutuel, Banque Fédérative du Crédit Mutuel (BFCM) and all its subsidiaries, including CIC, Euro-Information, Assurances du Crédit Mutuel (ACM), Targobank, Cofidis, Banque Européenne du Crédit Mutuel (BECM), Banque de Luxembourg, Banque Transatlantique and Homiris. www.creditmutuelalliancefederale.fr