Double exit for German small cap specialist

German buyouts firm Auctus has completed two exits this month with the sales of ZPF, an industrial furnace maker, and Abieta Chemie, a chemical company. Transaction details have not been disclosed.

ZPF therm Maschinenbau is a manufacturer of industrial furnaces for the aluminium-processing industry, and has been acquired by rival private equity house EZ Equity Partner.

Auctus acquired ZPF via an MBI in 2006. Since then the firm has reorganised ZPF’s management structure and pursued a strategy of internationalising the business. Sales and profits have approximately doubled over the last two years.

Abieta Chemie focuses on the development and production of resin based emulsifiers and other preliminary products for the chemical industry. Abieta serves the major plastic manufacturers, the colour/pigment industry as well as adhesive producers. It has been acquired by the Arizona Chemical Company, a US portfolio company of Rhone Capital.

Auctus acquired Abieta in May 2007 from the Clariant AG, Switzerland and Hercules Inc, USA in an MBO deal. The company has been developed by growing the business in existing market segments and developing additional applications.

Auctus focuses on the smaller end of the market – business with sales of between €20m and €150m – and specialises in owner successions, buy and build strategies and corporate carve-outs.

The firm has already made one exit this year through the sale of its share in Stelzenberger Biogas to the majority stake holder Schmack Biogas. Return details were put at a triple figure IRR.

It closed it most recent fund in October 2007, raising €39m for its third offering. The fund invests alongside Auctus’ existing evergreen fund and a strong personal commitment from the Auctus team, which results in total capital for new investments of around €100m.