Argos Wityu acquires majority stake in aktivoptik Group as part of a succession and growth plan

Argos Wityu acquires majority stake in aktivoptik Group as part of a succession and growth plan

Argos Wityu acquires majority stake in aktivoptik Group as part of a succession and growth plan

  • Germany’s fifth largest optician and hearing care chain taps new growth opportunities with a long-term investor
  • Argos Wityu plans to strengthen aktivoptik’s presence by expanding its store network and selective add-on acquisitions
  • Continuity in management, owner family remains committed to the company in the long term

Bad Kreuznach/Frankfurt am Main, August 27, 2018 – The independent pan-European investment company Argos Wityu has acquired a majority stake in German aktivoptik Group (aktivoptik) as part of a succession plan via its Fund VII. This was announced today by both companies. With a network of 76 stores, most of them in hypermarkets and other highly frequented locations, and sales of around 50 million Euros (as of 2017) the medium-sized family company is Germany’s fifth-largest optician and hearing care chain. The parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price or other details of the transaction. The transaction is still subject to approval of the relevant antitrust authorities.

After almost 30 years of dynamic growth of aktivoptik, the founding family wants to pave the way for an orderly transition which at the same time will drive future growth of the company. Together, the family, the new majority shareholder and the existing management want to achieve this goal by opening new branches and tapping new growth opportunities through selective add-on-acquisitions. The founder and former majority shareholder Rolf Schneider (68) will retain a stake of around 25 percent in the company and will continue his activities as CEO to ensure continuity until a suitable successor has been found. In addition, he will retain close ties to the company in the long term and closely accompany its strategic development as a member of the newly established advisory board.

The first aktivoptik store was opened in 1989. Since then, the company has grown into one of the leading optician and hearing care chains in Germany with 63 own stores, including four premium stores, and 13 franchise stores. Most of the stores are located in hypermarkets, which facilitates a high customer frequency and regular customer contact. The success of the company is based not only on the convincing price-performance ratio but also on the excellent quality of the products and services sold as well as a distinctive, family-like corporate culture.

Frank Hermann, partner and head of the DACH region of Argos Wityu, said: “Our investment in aktivoptik underlines the profile of Argos Wityu as a reliable partner for succession plans in medium-sized businesses, drawing upon decades of experience throughout Europe. aktivoptik is an economically healthy and successful company with great further growth potential. Together with Rolf Schneider we will focus on continuity and the preservation of the distinctive corporate culture to continue aktivoptik’s successful development of the past 30 years into the future”.

Rolf Schneider, CEO and founder of aktivoptik Group, said: “I look forward to taking an active role in shaping the transition to the new majority owner in the coming years. Argos Wityu’s commitment to continuity, the commitment to our headquarters in Bad Kreuznach, our established customer relations, and the high quality standards of aktivoptik were decisive for my decision to hand over my entrepreneurial life’s work to Argos Wityu instead of one of the big competitors who were also interested in acquiring aktivoptik”.

 

Argos Wityu: 30 years of experience in succession solutions and family businesses

With this latest investment, Argos Wityu is continuing its investment strategy of sustainable value creation through strategic and operational improvements as well as growth, as opposed to focusing on leverage, in Germany. The company has a track record of nearly 30 years in succession solutions for family businesses, the acquisition of subsidiaries or divisions of larger groups (spin-offs and carve-outs), companies with complex organisations or shareholder structures, strategic repositioning and the financing of organic or external growth – all of which require specific know-how, expertise and experience and, above all, sufficient internal resources during and after the transaction.

Among the best-known investments are the acquisitions of the world’s leading saxophone manufacturer Selmer from the founding family, the conglomerate Davey Bickford from its 200 family shareholders, the Swiss chocolate wafer manufacturer Kägi, the majority acquisition of the Swiss ropeway manufacturer BMF, or the privatization of the Belgian rail freight Lineas. The investment strategy is geared towards expansion, innovation and transformation. With local offices in or close to the home-markets of its portfolio companies, Argos Wityu ensures its presence to provide trustworthy support for the companies, to enable rapid decision-making, and to support the international expansion of the companies.

aktivoptik was advised on this transaction by DZ BANK AG (M&A) Oppenhoff & Partner (legal advice), and taxess Steuerberater (Finance & Tax). Ruth-Anna Weißmann (COO) and Rolf Schneider (CEO) were responsible for the transaction at aktivoptik.

Argos Wityu was advised by KWM Europe (legal and tax advice), Maconda (market advice), and Deloitte (financial advice). Frank Hermann (Partner), Rainer Derix, Simon Guichard, and Fabian Söffge were responsible for the transaction at Argos Wityu.

 

About aktivoptik Group

aktivoptik was founded in 1989 by master optician Rolf Schneider. Today, the Bad Kreuznach-based company is one of the five largest optician and hearing care chains in Germany with 76 stores, around 560 employees and an annual turnover of around 50 million Euros (as of 2017). The company’s product range includes ophthalmic frames, sunglasses, contact lenses and, since 2007, hearing aids; trained hearing care professionals are available at over 30 locations. In addition, aktivoptik sells accessories and care products for good vision and hearing. In the field of optics, the product range includes private labels as well as spectacle frames from renowned designers and brand manufacturers.

Since the founding of the first aktivoptik store, the company has had above-average growth compared to the optician industry as a whole. The success of the company is based not only on its excellent price-performance ratio offering in large hypermarkets, but also on excellent quality of products and services sold in highly frequented inner city locations: in 2018, aktivoptik was the only optician chain to achieve an “A” rating by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Verbraucherstudien (German Society for Consumer Studies) and in 2015 also was rated best optician chain by German consumer product testing organisation Stiftung Warentest. aktivoptik puts strong emphasis on employee training and a family-like corporate culture. For its outstanding HR management and training of its employees, aktivoptik was honoured as one of the best medium-sized employers in Germany in 2012 and 2017.

For further information: https://www.aktivoptik.de/

 

About Argos Wityu

Argos Wityu is an independent private-equity group with offices in Brussels, Frankfurt, Geneva, Luxembourg, Milan and Paris. Since its creation in 1989, the group has invested in more than 75 mid-sized companies (Enterprise Value ranging from 25 to 200 million Euros). Its majority ownership investments range between 10 and 100 million Euros.

With 1 billion Euros under management, the group develops a unique investment strategy focusing on business transformation and growth, instead of financial leverage, and on bringing solutions to complex business and shareholding situations.

For further information: http://argos.wityu.fund

 

Your contact at Argos Wityu:

Frank Hermann, Partner
Neue Mainzer Str. 52-58
60311 Frankfurt/Main, Germany
Phone +49 69 5977217 30
fhe@argos.fund

 

Your contact at aktivoptik:

Ruth-Anna Weißmann, Member of the Board
John-F.-Kennedy-Straße 26
55543 Bad Kreuznach, Germany
Phone +49 671 796467 100
r.weissmann@aktivoptik.de

 

Press contact for Argos Wityu:

Charles Barker Corporate Communications
Kornelia Spodzieja, Jan P. Sefrin
Phone +49 69 79 40 90-40 /-26
E-Mail kornelia.spodzieja@charlesbarker.de, jan.sefrin@charlesbarker.de

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