Swedish investment firm EQT is selling FM services provider Apleona to PAI Partners for €1.6 billion (about £1,460 billion), it announced yesterday (6 December).
EQT, which bought the company – a former unit of industrial services group Bilfinger – at a valuation of €1.4 billion euros in 2016, said the transaction was expected to close early in the second quarter of 2021.
The deal was handled by Deutsche Bank, acting as financial adviser to EQT.
Apleona, headquartered in Neu-Isenburg, Germany, employs more than 20,000 staff in more than 30 countries and has annual sales of €2 billion euros and counts BMW, Volkswagen, Daimler, BASF, Adidas, Siemens and Lufthansa among its major clients.
Apleona UK’s head office is at City Reach, in Greenwich, London.
During EQT’s tenure, Apleona’s EBITA has grown over 10 per cent per year with a margin increase of 100 basis points to industry-leading levels. Bilfinger is set to benefit from the sale as a result of an earn-out clause in the 2016 deal, which provided equity-like participation rights. EQT expects proceeds of about €450-470 million to Bilfinger’s preferred participation note.
Following the carve-out from Bilfinger, Apleona has sold activities such as the turnkey construction business in Germany and its UK-based real estate advisory business GVA.
Apleona provides technical FM services, complemented by infrastructural and commercial facility management as part of an integrated offering. Under EQT’s ownership, Apleona has been transformed into a pure-play FM provider with an unrivalled position in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, partly through the divestments of its cyclical, low-margin construction segment in 2017 and its UK real estate advisory business GVA in 2018. This strategic shift was accelerated by significant investments into a digitalised operating platform and commercial excellence focused on providing high-value integrated facility management services to its core blue-chip customer base. Apleona’s focus has led to a steady above-market growth rate and numerous new key account wins since 2016.
The company supports its clients with a wide range of services and has the goal of reducing buildings’ energy consumption and CO2 emissions.
To support customers' drive towards energy efficiency, Apleona has developed widely recognised digital solutions for its customers. This offering has been complemented by strategic acquisitions and partnerships, such as that of Recognizer in 2020, which offers an AI-powered steering solution for a buildings’ heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.
Andreas Aschenbrenner, partner at EQT, said: “Today, Apleona is the market leader in the technical and integrated facilities management space. It has a strong platform to continue to drive market consolidation and further key account wins as the partner of choice for its blue-chip clients. ”
Jochen Keysberg, CEO of Apleona, said: “We have an advantage with digital products and the automation and digitalization of operational processes and an unrivalled track record of sustainability initiatives supporting our client’s efforts. We are very excited to take this next step of our journey together with PAI and enter a new phase of growth both through M&A and also our enhanced organic growth potential.”
Philipp Meyer, managing director at PAI Partners, added: “PAI has a strong track record in business services and in particular technical facility services. We view Apleona as uniquely positioned in the attractive DACH market, consistently delivering outstanding operational performance and successfully growing its portfolio of high-quality customers.”
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