G.P. News – CD&R Taps Principal For Frankfurt Office –

Clayton Dubilier & Rice will increase its Europe deal force by adding an office in Germany. With two German deals under its belt the firm has tapped Morgan Stanley Dean Witter veteran Benedikt von Schrder as principal to open and manage its new office in Frankfurt.

Von Schrder’s main function will be to start and manage the new office, which is slated to open in early to mid-2001. The German native will join the other principals of Clayton Dubilier in New York for a six-month stint starting in April and will work with fellow principals in London before he heads back to Germany.

Clayton Dubilier made its European intentions clear in June 1998, when the firm hired Christopher Mackenzie to head its first European office in London.

Von Schrder said the Frankfurt operations will be comprised of a team of five or six individuals and will resemble the composition of Clayton Dubilier’s London locale.

German Opportunities Abound

Clayton Dubilier has recently inked two deals in Germany. Last month the firm announced a $1.2 billion buyout with Allianz Capital of Germany-based aircraft maker Fairchild Dornier (BUYOUTS Jan. 10, 2000, p. 1). In 1998, the firm acquired Schulte GmbH & Co. KG, a building products distributor from German conglomerate Thyssen AG (BUYOUTS June 22, 1998, p. 4).

“The German market has a lot of restructuring right now. This is an ideal environment for firms like Clayton Dubilier,” von Schrder said. “It’s also a very competitive market. A lot of divestitures go in the form of auctions. The trick is to find an angle or leg up over the competition.”

Von Schrder said his first order of business as head of the Frankfurt office is to find a German operating partner. This counterpart to von Schrder will work with target companies on the operational front while von Schrder will oversee financing details.

“We’ll need to develop leads into transactions. That’s really what the team is designed to do,” von Schrder said of the office’s goals. “That’s what I bring to the market. I can really bring to bear knowledge of the market and relationships I have built during my career.”

Von Schrder said Clayton Dubilier will look closely at the country’s utility companies, which are being broken up, divorcing pharmaceutical/chemical companies and German conglomerates like Thyssen AG and Siemens AG. The firm is also considering opportunities in the automobile supply market.

“This team is going to be looking proactively, analyzing German industry and building further relationships with these companies.” Schrder said.

Born in Hamburg, Germany and educated at Ludwig Maximillian University in Munich and the Sorbonne in Paris, von Schrder said he feels at home in both the United States and Germany. Von Schrder, who has worked for Siemens and Banker’s Trust, speaks German, English and French.

Von Schrder has worked for Morgan Stanley Dean Witter since 1986. In 1989 he was transferred to Germany where he helped to build the investment bank’s operations there. Since December 1995, von Schrder served as managing director of Morgan Stanley & Co. During his tenure at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter in Frankfurt, the office increased to 150 employees from 10.

While the firm’s European strategy is not to divvy up the land, so to speak, the London and Frankfurt offices can cover deals in countries across the continent. Von Schrder said the two offices are sufficient for the time being, but the possibility of a French office may be in Clayton Dubilier’s future.