Frankfurt a. M. – 3i Group plc (“3i”) announces the sale of ATESTEO, an international drivetrain testing specialist, to IHO Holding GmbH & Co. KG (“IHO Holding”), holding company of the Schaeffler family. Proceeds to 3i are estimated to be €307m subject to closing adjustments, representing a euro money multiple of 4.4x. This compares to a valuation of €207m (£182m).
Founded in 1986 and headquartered in Alsdorf near Aachen, Germany, ATESTEO is the world leader in independent drivetrain testing. It has about 800 employees and 135 testing benches in Germany, Japan, China and North America. Based on cutting-edge testing technology, the company offers a cost efficient alternative to in-house durability testing for automotive OEMs and their suppliers. Its customers include virtually all the leading OEMs and transmission manufacturers.
In 2013, 3i invested in ATESTEO in an all equity deal. Since then, the company has delivered a number of growth initiatives and improvements to its systems and processes, leading to operational and financial out-performance. It has transitioned from a founder-owned business to a world leader in global testing services with a clear competitive advantage in lab-based testing. Its EBITDA has more than doubled, and it has seen a 30% increase in testing capacity. Over the course of 3i’s ownership, the business has been refinanced twice, and has invested €45m in capex for growth.
In 2017, ATESTEO made two strategic acquisitions to expand its testing services portfolio. The acquisition of TÜV SÜD’s Engine/Drivetrain Technology and Components Testing division increased group capacity by 10%, whilst the acquisition of straesser expanded the company’s offering in the field of road testing. ATESTEO has also expanded in the high growth Chinese market, doubling its capacity there since 2013 with an increase in its number of testing benches from 10 to 20.
Ulf von Haacke, Partner & Head of Industrial at 3i Germany, commented: “During our investment period, ATESTEO has cemented its leading market position in the independent drivetrain testing space and has increased its exposure to hybrid and electric vehicle technologies. Today, the company is well positioned to lead the way in testing the quality of increasingly electrified and autonomous automotive technology. We would like to thank Wolfgang Schmitz and his team for their commitment, and we wish them well in the future.”
Wolfgang Schmitz, Chairman of the Management Board of ATESTEO, added: “The 3i team has been a huge support in helping us to advance our international expansion and expand our footprint into growth markets such as China. We look forward to working with IHO Holding, who will enable us to further develop our offering and navigate the rapid changes taking place in the sector.”