BC Partners offers €1.3bn for Techem

BC Partners has announced a €1.3bn voluntary public tender offer for the shares of its former portfolio company Techem, the listed German provider of meter reading and billing services relating to energy and water consumption.

The offer rivals an announced €1.1bn hostile takeover bid by Australia’s Macquarie Bank and is welcomed by Techem’s executive board. According to an earlier report in the German daily Financial Times Deutschland, BC Partners is also preparing a bid for Techem’s competitor Ista, which is currently owned by CVC.

BC Partners’ offer price amounts to €52 per Techem share in cash, 18.2% higher than the Macquarie offer of €44 per share. The announced price of €52 also represents a premium of 40.5% on the volume weighted three month-average stock exchange price before 23 October 2006 (€37), which is the date when Macquarie’s bid vehicle MEIF II Energie Beteiligungen announced its voluntary public tender offer.

The latest offer is subject to the condition that a minimum acceptance level of 50.1% of all shares issued by Techem will be achieved.

In a framework agreement entered into with Techem BC Partners has agreed to far reaching covenants including the support for the existing strategy of Techem, the company’s corporate domicile and jobs.

BC Partners wishes to hold on to Techem’s management, which has appointed Merrill Lynch to defend it against the Macquarie bid. They have known each other for a long time: In 1996, BC Partners acquired a controlling stake in Techem from its family shareholders. BC Partners’ investment manager Stefan Zuschke continued to be on Techem’s supervisory board until August 2006. That is long after BC Partners had exited its investment in the course of an initial public offering (IPO) and a secondary offering of Techem shares in 2001.

It is therefore hardly surprising that Techem’s management is planning to acquire an indirect participation in the share capital of the company.

For the fiscal year ended September 30, 2006 Techem records an EBIT of about €105m, up 25% from the previous year. Revenues of about €522m were 12% higher than the previous year (€466.8m).