Deals round-up: PRIVATE EQUITY – CapVis buys Tobler from founders

A CHFr 100 million plus (EURO63 million) buyout/buy-in led by CapVis Equity Partners, has resolved the succession question for the family-owned Swiss heating and sanitary systems group Gerbruder Tobler. CapVis, the quasi-independent successor to SBC Equity Partners (EVCJ September 1999, page 6) has taken a 67 per cent stake in Tobler Management Holding, the new owner of the Tobler Group. The management team, headed by incoming CEO Alfred Gamper, the former CEO of ELCO Energiesysteme, holds approximately 13 per cent while former owners Max and Peter Tobler each own a 10 per cent stake in the new structure. Credit Suisse arranged senior debt for the deal.

The Tobler Group has been a wholesale supplier to clients in the heating systems, heat distribution and behind-the-wall sanitary systems sectors for more than 40 years, boasting a product range of some 25,000 items and strong advisory capabilities. In 1999 the

Tobler group, which employs some 425 staff, had sales of CHFr 204 million.

Following the buyout, Tobler aims to consolidate and expand its market-leading position, gearing its activities more closely to the needs of its specialist client base and further optimising business processes and locations. Funding to support additional growth will be generated via the sale of much of Tobler’s extensive property portfolio.

CapVis’s deal announcement suggests that a flotation may well be on the cards for Tobler in the medium term.