Dettingen an der Erms/Stuttgart, 02 May 2018
With around 3 billion plastic packaging produced per year, the Uniplast Knauer Group is the leading manufacturer of plastic packaging in the German dairy industry. With effect from 2 May 2018, the Uniplast Knauer Group was taken over by the listed industrial holding Blue Cap AG. In the international bidding process initiated by Concentro, Blue Cap AG was able to assert itself against the other interested parties not only with an attractive offer for all parties but above all with an attractive perspective for the group of companies.

The Uniplast Knauer Group, a leading manufacturer of thin-walled plastic packaging for the food industry, has been undergoing a restructuring process since 2013. The crisis was caused by extensive investments outside the core business, which weighed heavily on the company's balance sheet. Together with the trustee Dr. Thilo Schultze from the law firm Grub Brugger, the management team in the company, headed by Christoph Riess (CEO) and Andreas Doster (COO), has succeeded in stabilizing the core business in the past three years despite balance sheet restrictions. With the help of Blue Cap AG, the company is now able to restructure and refinance its balance sheet in advance of the targeted operational development of the group.

With around 3 billion plastic cups produced annually, Uniplast Knauer is the market leader in the southern German dairy industry. Founded in 1968 by Karlheinz Knauer, the company has often been at the forefront of new and innovative cup shapes and technology, especially for thin-walled in-mould labelling injection moulding products, but also in the thermoforming sector. Thanks to its strong market position and its broad technical base, which is good and broad in comparison with the competition, the company has succeeded in maintaining its leading role even in the restructuring phase. The group currently employs around 400 people at its sites in Dettingen an der Erms (headquarters) and Bad Laasphe.

With Blue Cap AG already involved in the packaging industry as a shareholder, "Knauer-Uniplast should continue to exist as a well-known, reliable packaging specialist and independent company," says Dr. Hannspeter Schubert, CEO of Blue Cap AG. According to his plans, on the one hand the existing market position in the dairy market is to be secured by new investments and, on the other hand, packaging solutions outside the traditional food industry are to be developed based on "Knauer-Uniplast's technological and development expertise".

As part of the international bidding process, intensive discussions were held with a wide variety of potential investors. "In addition to the balance sheet restructuring, the main focus of the process from the management's point of view was to find a reliable partner for the company with whom the diverse growth potential could be optimally exploited and the strong market position thus secured in the long term. "With Blue Cap, we are convinced that we have found the right partner to realize the existing potential," says Andreas Doster, who has steered the group through the most difficult phase in its history and will now continue it together with Blue Cap.

"The main challenge in the M&A process was to find an acquirer who appreciates the diverse potential and is in a position to provide the company with corresponding opportunities for growth investments in the short term," says Sebastian Mink, who was in charge of the M&A process on the side of Concentro Management AG.

Menold Bezler provided comprehensive legal advice to the Knauer Group in the preparation and execution of the transaction, in particular in the streamlining of the complex financing structure.

Seller |>

Trustee: DR. Thilo Schultze / Law office Grub Brugger (www.grub-brugger.de/)

Attorney Dr. Thilo Schultze (trustee) (in charge), Attorney Maximilian Rötscher (trustee, M&A)

CRO / Management |>

Mamager/CEO/CRO: Christoph Riess / Strategy Pilots (www.strategy-pilots.de/)

Consultant to the seller |>

Legal support: law office Menold Bezler (Stuttgart) (www.menoldbezler.de/)

Attorney Dr. Christoph Winkler (Corporate Law, M&A), Attorney Jost Rudersdorf (Corporate Law, M&A) (leading), Attorney Friederike Frosch (Corporate Law, M&A), Attorney Steffen Follner (Banking Law, Finance)

Tax assistant: RWT Reutlinger Wirtschaftstreuhand GMBH (www.rwt-gruppe.de)

Raphael Zeisset, Georg Kessler as auditor and tax consultant

Transaction control/M&A: Concentro Management AG

Dr. Alexander Sasse (Partner), Sebastian Mink (Principal), Johannes Dürr (Senior Consultant), Julian Napolitano (Consultant), Benedikt Hofstetter (Consultant)