CF Group acquires Starline Group with Crédit Mutuel Equity

Photo: Pool of the Dutch Star­line Group, now part of the CF Group
27. July 2022

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)

For Star­line
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.

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).

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.

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