In November 2006, EQT acquired Pfaff-silberblau from the Pfaff family which remained a minority shareholder in the Company. At that time, the Company was heavily indebted and operationally underperforming.
Since the acquisition, Pfaff-silberblau has successfully been transformed into a profitable company and is now well positioned for further growth. During the EQT holding period, labor productivity has been significantly increased, time to delivery shortened and on-time delivery improved. In addition, a new headquarter and production plant in Kissing have been developed and made operational. Bank liabilities have been drastically reduced.
Today Pfaff-silberblau has more than 300 employees and had sales of € 62m in 2007. The Company is represented worldwide through six sales subsidiaries as well as numerous regional representatives.
Ernst Ludes, partner at EQT Partners, comments: "Pfaff’s industrial development has surpassed our expectations, demonstrating its great operating potential through highly committed employees. Management has implemented its business plan faster than expected, and EQT believes it is now time for an owner with a longer term growth perspective. Columbus McKinnon is such a partner."
Christoph Pfaff, representative for the Pfaff family, is also pleased about the transaction: "EQT was a truly extraordinary shareholder for Pfaff-silberblau. EQT combines industrial and financial expertise that the company was lacking at the time when EQT came in. Together with EQT, we have created a healthy and attractive company which has now found its long term partner in Columbus McKinnon. We are very pleased with the new owner of Pfaff."
Volker Bartelt, CEO of Pfaff, comments: "The Columbus McKinnon platform will offer tremendous growth potential. We are now a truly global firm acting in global markets."
The sale is not conditional. Signing took place on the 30th September 2008, closing on the 1st October 2008.
Leonardo & Co acted as financial advisor and Honert + Partners as legal advisor to EQT and management. CW Downer advised Columbus McKinnon Corporation.