Exit: VR Equitypartner sells its shares in Kälte Eckert to Triton
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. www.vrep.de.
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)