Deutsche Beteiligungs AG acquires Brötje-Automation from CLAAS

Machines and complete lines for automated production and assembly of aircraft / CLAAS to focus on growth in agricultural engineering

Frankfurt am Main, 16 January 2012. Deutsche Beteiligungs AG (DBAG) today announced a new addition to its portfolio: jointly with its managed DBAG Fund V and management, DBAG will acquire the CLAAS subsidiary Brötje-Automation GmbH and its subsidiaries (“BA Group”) in a management buyout. DBAG and CLAAS KGaA signed an agreement to that effect on 30 December 2011, with the completion of the transaction contingent upon regulatory clearance. The parties to the contract agreed not to disclose the purchase price. DBAG will invest some six million euros from its balance sheet in the BA Group and own an interest of approximately 17 percent. The remaining shares will be held by the co-investing DBAG Fund V and the management of Brötje-Automation GmbH.

The MBO of the BA Group is the eighth transaction that DBAG has sponsored alongside DBAG Fund V – three of which were in 2011. After completion of this transaction, the fund will be 75 percent drawn.

Previously generating about three percent of CLAAS revenues, the BA Group develops and manufactures machines and complete lines for the automated production of aircraft. Group revenues for its 2011/2012 financial year are expected to exceed 80 million euros. The largest part – some 60 percent – is generated by machines and complete lines used to automatically rivet, join and assemble large components of aircraft fuselage made of metal or carbon fibre composites. The machines and production lines developed and manufactured by the Group are thus large-scale, frequently reaching the size of a single-family house.

Production processes in aircraft construction call for particularly stringent tolerance specifications, standards which Brötje-Automation GmbH is able to meet in view of its several decades of experience with such processes and ongoing efforts to improve its products. The company is a leading strategic supplier to major aircraft manufacturers worldwide and is the undisputed global market leader in the development and production of fully automated riveting systems for the assembly of aircraft (airplanes and helicopters).

Other Group revenues derive from support services, transport and assembly equipment, and maintenance. The BA Group plans, designs and integrates turnkey production steps in aircraft factories for its clients; it not only delivers the machines and lines, but also provides support such as project management and procurement of other components. Its range of services includes replacement parts, maintenance, training, as well as the optimisation of existing machines and production lines.

“The BA Group is an excellent business and the third MBO we agreed in the past twelve months,” said Dr Rolf Scheffels, member of the DBAG Board of Management. “Of the eight investments we have financed so far alongside DBAG Fund V, Brötje-Automation is the third company we acquired from family hands in order to drive the next stage of its development.”

Hans Lampert, Member of the Executive Board of CLAAS, commented: “In DBAG we found a partner who has the power and expertise to successfully back our subsidiary Brötje-Automation GmbH. This allows us to focus more strongly on the growth of our agricultural engineering business.”

The BA Group plans to take advantage of market growth – for instance, with new aircraft manufacturers in China and Russia. It also intends to transfer its competency to other products, such as those used in the windenergy sector. “With the support of Deutsche Beteiligungs AG, we also want to expand our support business and augment revenues from these expert services,” said Bernd Schröder, CEO of Brötje-Automation GmbH.

The company was founded in 1979 as a subsidiary of heating manufacturer August Brötje GmbH. It has been a subsidiary of the CLAAS Group since 2002. The BA Group employs a staff of 350 and is headquartered in Wiefelstede in northern Germany. It operates an additional production site in Jaderberg, Germany, and has sales offices in the US and China. Through a majority held in a French service provider for Airbus Toulouse, Brötje-Automation additionally has local access to the French and Spanish markets.