MGPE Italy sells Konig

Deutsche Morgan Grenfell, Deutsche Bank’s Italian private equity fund advised by Morgan Grenfell Private Equity (MGPE Italy) is to realize its investment in König, a manufacturer of snow chains for cars, light transportation vehicles and trucks. EQT portfolio company Thule will acquire the business for an undisclosed sum.

König has sales of €30m, is based in Lecco, Italy and employs 185 people. Carlo Pirzio Biroli, CEO of MGPE Italy, said: “König has been a successful investment for DMG’s investors. On the back of a robust 2003 performance delivered, with our support, by the management team in a mature, seasonal business segment, we have agreed terms of sale with Thule and other minority shareholders that will result in an attractive cash on cash return for our investors. König will enjoy a bright future as part of a larger group like Thule.”

Deutsche Bank has almost halved the size of its private equity portfolio over the last year as part of its restructuring to focus on the bank’s core businesses. But the bank decided to retain direct control of Morgan Grenfell Private Equity’s €100m Italian fund. Carlo Pirzio-Biroli, part of Deutsche Bank’s fund-of-funds team has become acting chief executive and has brought in a new team of Deutsche executives to manage the fund.

The former head of MGPE Italy Dante Razzani left the fund last year with three other members of the team following a failed attempt to buyout the fund from Deutsche Bank. He has recently resurfaced at Investindustrial, formerly 21invest, as a principal.

MGPE Italy has four investments left in its portfolio including UnoaErre, Armorlite and Piaggio, the Italian scooter manufacturer which last year secured refinancing with existing banks after bank covenants for its 1999 buyout were breached – see EVCJ September 2003, page 31. The fund has another possible exit in the pipeline from its majority stake in Valli Zabban.