Exit: VR Equitypartner sells its shares in Kälte Eckert to Triton

Photo: The two mana­ging direc­tors of VR Equity Chris­tian Futter­lieb and Peter Sachse (from left, photo: VREP)
28. July 2022

Frank­furt am Main / Mark­grö­nin­gen — VR Equi­ty­p­art­ner has sold its majo­rity stake in Kälte Eckert GmbH. The buyer is Triton Mittel­stands­fonds II, which is advi­sed by the inter­na­tio­nal invest­ment company Triton. The mana­ging direc­tors and co-part­­ners of Kälte Eckert, the brothers Michael and Holger Eckert, will remain active in their manage­ment func­tion in the future and will take a reverse share­hol­ding as part of the transaction.

Kälte Eckert, based in Mark­grö­nin­gen, Germany, was foun­ded by Horst Eckert in 1966. The company, which specia­li­zes in refri­gera­tion tech­no­logy, has a very good market posi­tion in special plant engi­nee­ring for commer­cial refri­gera­tion with a focus on indus­trial kitchens, indus­trial refri­gera­tion and air condi­tio­ning. It is also natio­nally reco­gni­zed as a tech­no­logy leader in alter­na­tive ecolo­gi­cal cool­ants. Custo­mers include major corpo­ra­ti­ons such as Merce­­des-Benz, UniCredit and LBBW.

The Fran­k­­furt-based invest­ment company VR Equi­ty­p­art­ner joined the company in 2017 with a majo­rity stake to support the company’s further growth. With the aim of advan­cing to become the leading supplier of refri­gera­tion systems with a focus on natu­ral refri­ger­ants in southern Germany, Kälte Eckert and VR Equi­ty­p­art­ner pursued an active plat­form stra­tegy: the basis was formed by the merger of Kälte Eckert with Günther Kälte­tech­nik in 2019. Buil­ding on this, the family busi­ness acqui­red Gart­ner, Keil & Co, Klima- und Kälte­tech­nik and SOS Kälte­tech­nik (both 2020) as an add-on. The tech­ni­cal know-how — espe­cially in the field of special plant engi­nee­ring, natu­ral refri­ger­ants and control soft­ware — has thus grown steadily within the Kälte Eckert Group. The in-depth opera­tio­nal and commer­cial inte­gra­tion of the add-ons has now been comple­ted. Syner­gies between the part­ners are conti­nuously explo­i­ted and both the perfor­mance and service offe­rings are expan­ded accordingly.

In addi­tion to the company acqui­si­ti­ons and the accom­pany­ing compre­hen­sive inte­gra­tion, nume­rous other short- and medium-term value enhan­ce­ment measu­res were success­fully imple­men­ted as part of VR Equitypartner’s invol­ve­ment. Among other things, the second manage­ment level was estab­lis­hed and expan­ded, the sales orga­niz­a­tion was broa­dened, gene­ral stan­dards and proces­ses were intro­du­ced, and a cross-company control­ling and ERP system was set up.

Chris­tian Futter­lieb, Mana­ging Direc­tor at VR Equi­ty­p­art­ner: “I am plea­sed that through our joint work over the past years we have been able to deve­lop Kälte Eckert into a strong plat­form that is now a good home for medium-sized refri­gera­tion equip­ment manu­fac­tu­rers. We wish Holger and Michael Eckert and the new part­ner Triton much joy and success in their consis­tent further development.”

“With VR Equi­ty­p­art­ner, we have had a compe­tent and strong part­ner at our side for the past five years, who has helped us to imple­ment our ideas for the further growth of our company,” says Michael Eckert, Mana­ging Direc­tor of Kälte Eckert. “The team at VR Equi­ty­p­art­ner has exten­sive expe­ri­ence with success­fully imple­men­ted buy-and-build stra­te­gies. We bene­fi­ted greatly from this stra­te­gic know­ledge and were able to further deve­lop the Kälte Eckert Group toge­ther,” adds Holger Eckert, also Mana­ging Direc­tor of the company. “We look forward to conti­nuing on the path we have taken with Triton.”

VR Equi­ty­p­art­ner at a glance

VR Equi­ty­p­art­ner is one of the leading equity finan­ciers in Germany, Austria and Switz­er­land. The company supports medium-sized family busi­nes­ses in a goal-orien­­ted manner and with deca­des of expe­ri­ence in the stra­te­gic solu­tion of complex finan­cing issues. Invest­ment oppor­tu­nities include growth and expan­sion finan­cing, corpo­rate succes­sion or share­hol­der chan­ges. VR Equi­ty­p­art­ner offers majo­rity and mino­rity invest­ments as well as mezza­nine finan­cing. As a subsi­diary of DZ BANK, the central insti­tu­tion of the coope­ra­tive banks in Germany, VR Equi­ty­p­art­ner consist­ently puts the sustaina­bi­lity of corpo­rate deve­lo­p­ment ahead of short-term exit thin­king. VR Equitypartner’s port­fo­lio curr­ently compri­ses around 60 commit­ments with an invest­ment volume of EUR 400 million.

Advi­sor VR Equitypartner:

M&A: Alan­tra (Wolf­ram Schmerl and Juan Carlos Montoya)

Stein­beis Consul­ting (Ulrich Praßler)

Legal: Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek (Dr. Rainer Herschlein, Bene­dikt Raisch and Char­lotte Schmitt)

Financial/Commercial: Grant Thorn­ton AG (Klaus Schaldt and Jan Dembeck)


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