Cognetas buys German metals firm

Cognetas, a pan-European mid-market firm previously known as Electra Partners Europe, has acquired Gebrüder Gienanth-Eisenberg, a German specialty metals and mouldings manufacturer.

No financial details were disclosed. The transaction is expected to complete early this year subject to merger clearance being granted by the relevant authorities. Société Générale advised Cognetas on the transaction.

Gienanth, founded in 1735, is headquartered in Eisenberg, Germany, and produces engine blocks for medium to large diesel and gas engines and compacted granite iron products for use in clutch and transmission systems in the automotive industry.

The company has about 900 employees and its clients including LuK, Cummins, Tognum (formerly MTU Friedrichshafen), General Electric, Daimler and MAN. It had revenues of approximately €150m in 2007.

This month also saw Cognetas acquire Gruppo Argenta, an Italian vending machine business, alongside Investitori Associati, from Advent International and minority shareholder PM & Partners, with the latter rolling over some of its proceeds to reinvest in the business.

Terms were not disclosed for the transaction, in which management retained a stake. Cognetas was advised by Lazard, Deloitte and Houlihan Lokey.

Advent first invested in Argenta in June 2005 and has since carried out a buy-and-build strategy, integrating 11 acquisitions and doubling sales. Advent was advised by HSBC and Lovells.

Headquartered in Modena, Argenta owns about 120,000 vending machines serving 65,000 businesses throughout Italy. The company has a leading market share in the Italian market, which has an aggregate value of close to €2bn.

Argenta is its first Italian deal since Cognetas opened an office in Milan in September 2006. The firm’s other deals in B2B services include Safety Kleen Europe, Tokheim and GSL, which it sold to UK support services group G4S last week for £355m.