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Venture capitalists step in to help Moeller

01 December, 2003

A venture capital group, Advent International, has bought the family-owned Moeller Group of companies for an undisclosed sum. The deal, which will improve Moeller`s capital structure, has helped the group to secure continuing support from a consortium of banks which have been financing it.

Under pressure from the banks, Moeller had been looking for a buyer for more than a year. It was close to a deal with CVC Capital Partners earlier this year, but this deal subsequently collapsed.

Moeller, with annual sales worth around €1bn and a global workforce of 11,000 (more than 400 of them in the UK), is one of Germany`s largest privately-owned industrial and building controls manufacturers. Founded in 1899, Moeller - which was known as Klockner-Moeller from the 1940s until 1999 - has 32 production sites around the world, including UK operations in Aylesbury and Worksop.

"As a world-class company with a strong market position, a portfolio of high-quality products and an excellent customer base, Moeller has great future potential," says Advent`s Ralf Huep. "Our plan is to work with the management to refocus the business on its core strengths, to increase its market penetration and to take advantage of global growth markets.

"We will continue the streamlining process which was initiated by the company several months ago," he adds, "to optimise the company`s business processes and to increase its profitability."

Moeller`s existing three-strong management team will be joined by two new board members, Uwe Alwardt and Dave McLemore, both of whom have considerable experience in the industrial and electronics technology sectors.

In a joint statement, Moeller`s chief executive Theo Kubat and chief financial officer Robert Gaertner, say that "with Advent on board, we will be able to further expand our market position and successfully follow our customers on the global market…. The Moeller brand will play an even more decisive role in the future."

On behalf of Moeller`s bankers, Thomas Boehm of the consortium leader Commerzbank, says he is pleased that the consortium that has traditionally financed Moeller will continue to support the business. "It is indicative of the confidence that we have in the partnership between Moeller and Advent International, and in the successful future of the company," he adds.

The European Commission has given its approval to the takeover.

Boston-based Advent has invested in more than 500 companies in 35 countries, and has floated 129 companies on 20 different exchanges. In Europe, it has invested in more than 120 companies with a combined value of more than €10bn. Its flotations have included the oscilloscope manufacturer LeCroy, and the UK optical components manufacturer, Bookham.




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