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Concentro advises sale of Knauer Holding to Blue Cap

2. May 2018

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

About RWT
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.

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