VR Equitypartner acquires stake in Signet Wohnmöbel
Frankfurt am Main / Hochstadt — The founders of the Upper Franconian bedroom furniture specialist Signet Wohnmöbel have handed over the majority of their shares to industry expert and future CEO Thomas Schlosser as part of a succession plan. A minority shareholding is acquired in equal parts by the investment company VR Equitypartner and a fund managed by it. The transaction is expected to close by January 2020.
Signet, based in Hochstadt am Main, has been developing and producing individual functional furniture for almost 30 years. From the very beginning, the two founders, Carola and Gerald Klimke, have focused on timeless design, high functionality and sustainability: The trademark is the so-called “moving forms”, raw materials from regional, controlled stocks are used and the pollutant-free processing takes place exclusively in Germany — according to the strict quality guidelines of the German Furniture Quality Association (awarded with the quality mark “Golden M”). From a two-man operation, a medium-sized family business with about 70 employees and a product range around the topics of sitting, lying, sleeping, living and object has developed. Signet is one of Germany’s leading suppliers of high-quality sofa beds in particular.
Founder Gerald Klimke explains the reasons for choosing the successor constellation: “A sense of responsibility has always been a central corporate value for my wife and me. When we now pass on our life’s work after 30 years, we therefore want above all to do justice to our employees, customers and suppliers. We are very pleased to have found partners with whom we have the good feeling that the company will be continued in our spirit.” His successor, Thomas Schlosser, has already held numerous management positions at various furniture manufacturers and is considered a specialist for high-quality furniture. He says, “Signet is a special company and it is with great pleasure that I succeed Mr. and Mrs. Klimke.”
“Since its founding, Signet has consistently gone its own way and focused on production in Germany and distribution through local retailers — this is the core of Signet’s success and the basis for the good positioning of the designer furniture manufacturer,” summarizes Christian Futterlieb, Managing Director at VR Equitypartner. His company specializes in equity financing and further development of medium-sized companies.
VR Equitypartner is making the investment together with its subsidiary VR Equity Gesellschaft für regionale Entwicklung in Bayern mbH, which was provided with funding from the European Union for the promotion of innovative companies in Bavaria (ERDF funds) as part of a partnership with the Free State of Bavaria. Director Daniel Schmidt outlines the future strategy for Signet: “We want to continue the successful path of Signet together with Thomas Schlosser and at the same time push growth with specialist dealers, in the contract sector and with additional partners.” Selective geographical expansion into neighboring foreign markets is also envisaged.
VR Equitypartner GmbH
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 100 commitments with an investment volume of EUR 500 million.
For more information, visit www.vrep.de.
Consulting firms involved in the transaction by VR Equitypartner:
Legal & Tax: ARQIS Rechtsanwälte, Düsseldorf, with Dr. Lars Laeger, Christian Wegener and Thomas Chwalek
Financial & Commercial: First Park Advisory, Munich, with Michael Hinterholzer and Stefan Schmidt