Platinum buys from TUI

Platinum Equity, the US-based buyout firm, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire US-based PNA Group, a processor and distributor of steel products with annual revenue of around US$1.2bn.

The seller is TUI, the German tourism group that emerged from the Preussag conglomerate in 2002 and has been divesting non-core industrial holdings in order to focus on its core tourism and shipping sectors. Observers have estimated that TUI will be able to reduce its debt by €300m as a result of the latest disposal.

Platinum views PNA Group as a strong platform for growth in the steel services industry, according to Jacob Kotzubei, senior vice-president for mergers and acquisitions at Platinum. Kotzubei said he was excited to work with the management teams at each of the three business units to build enterprise value through both organic growth initiatives and potential add-on acquisitions.

The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval, closes another chapter in the remarkable transformation of the TUI group. The process began in the mid-1990s, when industrial conglomerate Preussag decided to focus on tourism. In 1998, the group acquired travel group Hapag-Lloyd and package holiday group TUI Deutschland. The crucial step came in 2000 with the complete takeover of the UK’s Thomson Travel Group. Only last year, TUI acquired US-based CP Ships through a tender offer worth US$1.64bn.