Concentro advises sale of Knauer Holding to Blue Cap
Dettingen an der Erms/Stuttgart — The Uniplast Knauer Group, a leading manufacturer of thin-walled plastic packaging for the food industry, had been undergoing a restructuring process since 2013. Together with the trustee Dr. Thilo Schultze from the law firm Grub Brugger, the management team in the company, with the managing directors Christoph Ries (CEO) and Andreas Doster (COO) at the helm, has succeeded in stabilizing the core business over the past three years.
With around 3 billion plastic packages produced per year, the Uniplast Knauer Group is the leading manufacturer of plastic packaging in the German dairy industry. The group achieved sales of around 70 million euros in 2017. The group employs 400 people at its production sites in Dettingen, south of Stuttgart, and Bad Laasphe in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Effective May 02, 2018, the Uniplast Knauer Group was acquired by the listed industrial holding Blue Cap AG. In the international bidding process initiated by Concentro, Blue Cap AG was able to prevail over the other interested parties not only with an attractive offer for all parties involved, but above all with an attractive perspective for the group of companies.
With the help of Blue Cap AG, the company has now succeeded in restructuring and refinancing its balance sheet in advance of the intended further operational development of the group of companies. With around 3 billion plastic cups produced annually, Uniplast Knauer is the market leader in the southern German dairy industry. Throughout its history, the company founded by Karlheinz Knauer in 1968 has often been a pioneer for new and innovative cup shapes and has always been a technological leader, especially in thin-walled in-mold labeling injection molding products, but also in the field of thermoforming. Thanks to its strong market position and its good and broad technical base compared with its competitors, the company has succeeded in maintaining its leading role even during the restructuring phase.
With Blue Cap AG, which is already involved in the packaging industry, as a shareholder, “Knauer-Uniplast will continue to exist as a well-known, reliable packaging specialist and independent company ‚” says Dr. Hannspeter Schubert, CEO of Blue Cap AG. According to his plans, on the one hand the existing market position in the dairy market is to be secured by new investments, and on the other hand, based on “Knauer-Uniplast’s technology and development competence, packaging solutions outside the traditional food industry are also to be developed”. Intensive talks were held with a wide range of potential investors as part of the international bidding process. “In addition to the balance sheet restructuring, the main focus of the process from the management’s point of view was to find a reliable partner for the company with whom the diverse growth potentials can be leveraged in the best possible way and thus the strong market position can be secured in the long term. “With Blue Cap, we are convinced that we have found the right partner to realize the existing potential,” says Andreas Doster, who as Managing Director has steered the group of companies through the most difficult phase of its history and will now continue to manage it together with Blue Cap.
In the preparation and execution of the transaction, the law firm Menold Bezler provided comprehensive legal advice to the Knauer Group, in particular with regard to the adjustment of the complex financing structure.
Advisor to seller | trustee Dr. Thilo Schultze: Kanzlei Grub Brugger (www.grub-brugger.de)
Attorney-at-law Dr. Thilo Schultze (Treuhander) (leading), Attorney-at-law Maximilian Rötscher (Treuhand, M&A). — Dr. Thilo Schultze is a lawyer and partner in the Stuttgart office of the law firm Grub Brugger & Partner. He is, among other things, co-author of the banking commentary on insolvency law, editor of a professional journal and lecturer at the German Lawyers’ Academy. He has been accompanying companies and their boards in special situations for 15 years. As a trustee, he also assumes operational responsibility for restructurings and M&A transactions.
CRO / Management | Managing Director/CEO/CRO: Christoph Riess / Strategy Pilots (www.strategy-pilots.de) Riess Strategy Pilots advises companies from a wide range of industries and supports them in particular in the context of strategic realignments. Christoph Riess has extensive, inter- national management experience. At the beginning of the crisis situation, he accompanied the Uniplast Knauer Group as a general representative before taking over the role of CEO in a board position in 2015. Since then, he has been managing the company’s business together with Andreas Doster, and in this role has played a key role in driving forward the operational restructuring of the group of companies.
Advisor to the sellers | Legal support: Law firm Menold Bezler (Stuttgart, www.menoldbezler.de)
Dr. Christoph Winkler (Corporate Law, M&A), Jost Rudersdorf (Corporate Law, M&A) (leading), Friederike Frosch (Corporate Law, M&A), Steffen Follner (Banking Law, Financing)
About Menold Bezler
Menold Bezler is one of the leading medium-sized commercial law firms in Germany. More than 90 professionals in Stuttgart advise private companies and the public sector on all aspects of commercial law: from labor, corporate, competition and antitrust law to energy and real estate law, environmental and construction planning law or public procurement law. The firm assists clients in restructuring, corporate acquisitions, financing and capital market transactions as well as restructuring and reorganization or succession planning.
Tax support: RWT Reutlinger Wirtschaftstreuhand GmbH (www.rwt-gruppe.de)
Raphael Zeisset, Georg Kessler as auditors and tax consultants
Reutlinger Wirtschaftstreuhand (RWT) is an auditing and consulting company with international connections, anchored in its Swabian homeland. RWT covers a broad range of consulting services with a focus on family businesses.
Transaction Control/M&A: Concentro Management AG (www.concentro.de/)
Dr. Alexander Sasse (Partner), Sebastian Mink (Principal), Johannes Dürr (Senior Consultant), Julian Napolitano (Consultant), Benedikt Hofstetter (Consultant)
About Concentro Management
Concentro Management AG is a medium-sized consulting company with a focus on M&A consulting, mainly in transition situations, restructuring consulting and corporate management. With 35 employees at four locations in Germany, Concentro works in an implementation and success-oriented manner. The aim is to generate added value for the customer through an individual consulting service.