Apax writes off Bundesdruckerei

Apax Partners has written off its investment in Bundesdruckerei, the security printing company that was previously owned by the German state. Apax acquired the company for DM2 billion (€1.02 billion) after a fiercely-contested auction in November 2000.

Authentos, the group of companies that Bundesdruckerei belongs to, has been restructured by the Landesbank of Hesse and Thuringia and the federal government. Apax has transferred its interests in the group to two trust companies, Berlin-based JFVVG Neununddreißigste Vermögensverwaltung (94 per cent) and Heidelberg-based Dinos Vermögensverwaltung (6 per cent).

Authentos supplies identity and high-security cards, GSM cards and smartcards, banknotes, postage stamps, electronic publications as well as product and brand-protection solutions. Three months after the privatisation, the group acquired Security Printing and Systems Limited (SPS), a UK-based manufacturer of passports and security documents. Other companies in the group include smart card business, ORGA Card Systems. The group’s performance has suffered as the downturn in the telecoms market has reduced demand for ORGA’s main product – SIM cards for mobile phones. According to a statement from the company, the comparatively stable business of the federal printing company and SPS has not been able to compensate for ORGA’s losses.

Bankhaus Metzler, which oversaw the original auction, has again been appointed to find a strategic investor.