DBAG acquires stake in vhf Group
Frankfurt am Main/ Ammerbuch — Deutsche Beteiligungs AG (DBAG) invests in the vhf Group (vhf), a manufacturer of computer-aided milling machines for applications in dentistry and industry. DBAG acquires around one fifth of the shares in vhf camfacture AG, which will act as the Group’s holding company in the future. The parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price of the minority interest. The execution of the participation takes place at short notice and is not subject to any reservations. The aim of the investment is to support the further international growth of the company and to bring about capital market readiness.
With its investment in vhf, DBAG is entering into a long-term commitment: DBAG finances long-term investments exclusively from its balance sheet, thus not investing alongside a DBAG fund. The investment horizon of a long-term investment goes beyond the usual term of a private equity fund. The new investment is the fourth long-term investment in the portfolio.
vhf (www.vhf.de), based in Ammerbuch (Baden-Württemberg, Germany), develops and manufactures computer-controlled milling machines that are mainly used by commercial dental laboratories and dentists in their own laboratories for the fabrication of dental restorations. Another high-growth part of sales is generated with machines for selected applications in industry. The complete control electronics, the software as well as the milling tools are also developed and manufactured in the vhf group. The company benefits from the special system architecture of its machines: they can be combined with all common appliances and third-party software used to fabricate dental restorations. On the market, they are considered particularly reliable and are valued for their good price-performance ratio. More than 10,000 machines in dental practices and practice laboratories form a good basis for a growing tool and service business.
The company was founded in 1988; the company founders have been the sole shareholders to date. Meanwhile, vhf employs about 350 employees, most of them at the headquarters in Ammerbuch as well as at the second German production site in Fürth (Bavaria). There are sales offices in New York and Shanghai. Last year, the group achieved sales of a good 46 million euros. Sales have grown significantly recently — an annual growth rate of a good 17 percent is on the cards for the years between 2018 and 2021. In addition to the introduction of a new generation of machines, internationalization also contributed to this. In the meantime, 40 percent of sales are generated outside Europe, primarily in the USA and China; in these two countries, spending on dental treatment is growing particularly strongly. Further customers are to be acquired there.
“We are pleased that DBAG has once again been able to win the trust of the shareholders of a family-owned company with a custom-fit equity solution,” said Jannick Hunecke, member of the DBAG Management Board on the occasion of the signing of the agreement. “We are now investing in a company that serves a structurally growing, hardly cyclical market with very high own value creation and has shown in the past that it is growing very profitably — this also makes the investment very attractive for DBAG, especially in the current environment.”
Frank Benzinger, one of the company’s founders and Chairman of the Board of vhf camfacture AG, emphasizes not only the financial but also the substantive contribution of DBAG: “With our new shareholder, we are well positioned to achieve our growth targets and, in the process, to further develop our company structurally as well.”
Deutsche Beteiligungs AG, a listed company, initiates closed-end private equity funds and invests — predominantly alongside DBAG funds — in well-positioned medium-sized companies with potential One focus for many years has been industry. An increasing share of equity investments is accounted for by companies in the growth sectors of broadband telecommunications, IT services/software and healthcare. The long-term, value-enhancing entrepreneurial investment approach makes DBAG a sought-after investment partner. Assets managed and advised by the DBAG Group amount to 2.5 billion euros.