AEQUITA acquires the automotive supplier Willi Elbe
Tamm, Germany, 01 April 2020 – The Willi Elbe Group shareholders sold their shares to AEQUITA, the Munich-based family office. AEQUITA takes over the approximately 1,000 Willi Elbe employees at all of the Group’s production sites. The contract sealing the deal was signed on 24 February 2020, and the transaction completed on 01 April 2020. Willi Elbe’s shareholders selected AEQUITA as the new owner of the Group because the family office presented the best overall strategic concept for the future of the Group’s employees and partnership with its long-standing customers in the automotive industry.
Vehicle manufacturers have driven globalisation among their suppliers. In addition, the Willi Elbe Group has been challenged by a number of new orders requiring high levels of investment and the constantly increasing complexity of business processes.
“We are delighted to have found the ideal new owner and partner for the Willi Elbe Group and look forward to successfully master the challenges of the months and years ahead together. Our order books are well filled”, says Alexander Wohak, Managing Director of Willi Elbe and a third generation member of the founding family. He continues, “AEQUITA’s industry expertise and restructuring experience will enable us to progress the Willi Elbe Group and further expand our strong market position".
Dr Axel Geuer, founder and chairman of AEQUITA, remarks: “We are looking forward to working with Willi Elbe’s staff”, adding “After a detailed analysis, we opted for the acquisition despite the difficult industry and macroeconomic conditions, because were convinced of Willi Elbe’s outstanding technological capabilities and future prospects from the start.” He believes that the Group’s strategic plan outlined above needs fleshing out and must be quickly implemented at the operational level in order to continue offering innovative steering and driveline technology products going forward. A key factor will be to press ahead with the ongoing demerging of sites. Dr Geuer goes on: “With our experience and support ,Willi Elbe will be able to make the most of its established global production network to further expand its strong position in the area of cutting edge steering technology.” He sees great opportunities not only in the German market, but also with the international vehicle manufacturers.
About Willi Elbe:
Willi Elbe is a highly innovative Tier-1 system supplier with outstanding know-how in the steering and driveline technology sector. The Group’s deep value creation chain ranges from cold extrusion, plastic injection moulding and highly sophisticated manufacturing technologies to complete system assembly. Core products in the steering technology sector include steering columns and intermediate steering shafts for both passenger and commercial vehicles, and in the driveline technology sector universal and cardan shafts for cars and motorbikes. Willi Elbe is known for outstanding R&D and production expertise and the innovative and internally developed product solutions the Group can therefore offer its customers. The approximately 1,000 employees supply mainly German premium car makers in the Americas, Europe and Asia from eight production sites across the world. Willi Elbe Group’s latest figures show sales revenues amounting to roughly EUR 180 million.
AEQUITA is a Munich-based family office investing in special situations in Europe, such as corporate spin-offs, successions and restructuring. With its strong capital base, entrepreneurial expertise and a cooperative approach, the team focuses on the acquisition and long-term value enhancement of companies that are likely to benefit from AEQUITA’s operational engagement. Our team will examine all areas of the business with a new perspective and in-depth knowledge in order to achieve sustainable growth, looking for instance at sales performance, production optimisation and efficiency improvements. AEQUITA brings more to the table than just capital, but also the vision, inspiration and operational drive its companies need to reach the next stage in their development and success.