Equistone acquires kitchen and sanitary fittings Franke Water Systems

Photo: Franke Water Systems kitchen sink
5. March 2021

Zurich — Funds advi­sed by Equi­stone Part­ners Europe (“Equi­stone”) are acqui­ring the Franke Water Systems divi­sion, a divi­sion of the Franke Group and a leading Euro­pean manu­fac­tu­rer and supplier of kitchen and sani­tary faucets for the resi­den­tial, public and commer­cial sectors. Thors­ten Klap­p­roth, form­erly CEO of Hans­grohe SE and WMF AG, is invol­ved in the tran­sac­tion as co-inves­­tor. The seller of the Franke Water Systems Divi­sion, which consists of the two busi­ness units KWC Group (“KWC”) and WS Commer­cial Group (“WSC”), is Franke Holding AG (“Franke Group”). The exis­ting manage­ment team will conti­nue to drive the company’s growth stra­tegy in the future. The parties have agreed not to disc­lose details of the tran­sac­tion, which is still subject to appro­val by the rele­vant compe­ti­tion authorities.

Franke Water Systems is a divi­sion of the Franke Group, foun­ded in 1911 in Rorschach, Switz­er­land, a leading global supplier of solu­ti­ons and equip­ment for domestic kitchens, private bathrooms, semi-publi­c/­­pu­­b­lic washrooms, profes­sio­nal system cate­ring and coffee prepa­ra­tion. Franke Water Systems was estab­lis­hed as an inde­pen­dent divi­sion of the Franke Group and consists of the two busi­ness units KWC and WSC. Franke Water Systems has produc­tion sites and compe­tence centers in Europe, the United Arab Emira­tes and Asia. In 2020, the company recor­ded sales of more than 192 million Swiss francs with around 900 employees.

KWC is the Swiss market leader for resi­den­tial sani­tary, resi­den­tial kitchen and commer­cial kitchen fittings, head­quar­te­red in Unter­kulm. The tradi­tio­nal company offers its custo­mers solu­ti­ons from the medium to the luxury price segment. Thanks in parti­cu­lar to the high-quality mate­ri­als and work­manship of its products, as well as the inno­va­tive design and a promise of quality “Made in Switz­er­land”, the company enjoys great popu­la­rity among instal­lers and architects.

WSC offers its custo­mers high-quality stain­less steel fittings and compon­ents for the commer­cial and (semi-)public sani­tary sector. WSC products are used in washrooms of public faci­li­ties such as office and admi­nis­tra­tion buil­dings, sports stadi­ums as well as hotels and hospi­tals, among others. WSC has inter­na­tio­nal loca­ti­ons and is distin­guis­hed, among other things, by its compre­hen­sive and high-quality product port­fo­lio as well as its high level of service competence.

Equi­stone supports the carve-out of Franke Water Systems from the Franke Group. Toge­ther with Thors­ten Klap­p­roth, form­erly CEO of Hans­grohe SE and WMF AG, and the exis­ting manage­ment team, Equi­stone will drive the expan­sion of the inter­na­tio­nal busi­ness as well as the orga­nic and inor­ga­nic growth of Franke Water Systems — buil­ding on the solid busi­ness deve­lo­p­ment in recent years. A parti­cu­lar focus will be on further deve­lo­ping the inno­va­tive product range and expan­ding the company’s strong brand positioning.

“We are deligh­ted about the inves­tors’ confi­dence in the manage­ment team. Toge­ther with Equi­stone, we want to conti­nue to offer our custo­mers high-quality solu­ti­ons for kitchens and sani­tary faci­li­ties and success­fully deve­lop Franke Water Systems,” says Patrick Trutt­mann, CFO of Franke Water Systems.

“Franke Water Systems has excel­lent people on its team and enjoys an excel­lent market posi­tion in key Euro­pean markets, as well as great poten­tial for further profi­ta­ble growth,” says Thors­ten Klapproth.

“The Euro­pean market for kitchen and sani­tary products has been deve­lo­ping very satis­fac­to­rily for years. Franke Water Systems is ideally posi­tio­ned to play an important role in this market envi­ron­ment. With Thors­ten Klap­p­roth, we were able to gain a proven indus­try expert with many years of expe­ri­ence, who has repeatedly proven that it is possi­ble to success­fully deve­lop strong brands with enthu­si­astic employees and inno­va­tive products — both orga­ni­cally and inor­ga­ni­cally,” says Stefan Maser, Part­ner at Equi­stone Part­ners Europe.

Stefan Maser, David Zahnd and Roman Emanuel Hegglin are respon­si­ble for the tran­sac­tion on the part of Equistone.

Advi­sor Equistone:
Munich Stra­tegy (Commer­cial), tkhd (Commer­cial), KPMG (Finan­cial), Bär & Karrer (Legal, Tax), ERM (Envi­ron­ment), Marsh/Kessler (Insurance), GCA Altium (Debt Advi­sory) and Enqcor (M&A Advisory).

About Equi­stone Part­ners Europe
Equi­stone Part­ners Europe is one of the most active Euro­pean equity inves­tors with a team of more than 40 invest­ment specia­lists in seven offices in Germany, Switz­er­land, the Nether­lands, France and the UK. Equi­stone prima­rily invests in estab­lis­hed medium-sized compa­nies with a good market posi­tion, above-average growth poten­tial and an enter­prise value of between EUR 50 and 500 million. Since its foun­da­tion, equity has been inves­ted in around 160 tran­sac­tions in the DACH region and the Nether­lands, mainly mid-market buy-outs. The port­fo­lio curr­ently compri­ses over 50 compa­nies across Europe, inclu­ding around 20 active holdings in Germany, Switz­er­land and the Nether­lands. Equi­stone is curr­ently inves­ting from its sixth fund, which closed in March 2018 with €2.8 billion.

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