H.I.G. European Capital Partners GmbH
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H.I.G. Europe Recapitalizes Walter Services Group
HAMBURG - April 12, 2011 - H.I.G. Europe, the European arm of global private equity firm H.I.G. Capital, announced today that it has led the recapitalization via a consensual restructuring of the industry- leading German call center operator Walter Services Holding GmbH ("Walter Services"). The former shareholder consortium, led by Odewald & Cie., will hold a small co-investment after closing. H.I.G. Europe is now the majority shareholder of Walter Services. Anchorage Capital is also an investor in the transaction.
The closing of the transaction is subject to antitrust and German bank authority approval. The acquisition of Walter Services is the fifth investment of H.I.G. Europe in Germany in the last 18 months.
Walter Services was founded in 1978 and has approximately 8,000 employees. With revenues of € 200 million, it is the second largest provider of business process outsourcing strategies in Germany, offering customized consulting and industry specific customer service and sales concepts for the sustainable improvement of customer relationships.
Jens Alsleben, Managing Director of H.I.G. Europe in Germany, commented: "We were able to complete this transaction after buying 100% of the bank debt of Walter Services and subsequently reaching a consensual agreement with its former owners. The path is now clear for the necessary financial restructuring by H.I.G. and Anchorage. The debt will be significantly reduced and we will be injecting new capital in the company to facilitate growth."
"The debt reduction and recapitalization is a far-sighted decision and releases the great potential of Walter Services. We are committed to support management's growth plans for Walter Services for the years to come on the basis of the newly gained financial flexibility and a solid and profitable platform." said Jörn-Marc Vogler, Principal of H.I.G. Europe in Germany.
Klaus Gumpp, Managing Director of Walter Services added: "The management expressly welcomes the entry of H.I.G. Europe and Anchorage. The implementation of necessary restructuring measures will clearly strengthen the competitive position of Walter Services and accelerate the transition to a customer oriented provider of value added services."
Wolfgang Biedermann, Managing Director of H.I.G. Europe in Germany noted: "Walter Services is an excellent example of a successful ‘De-Leverage-Buy-Out’ where the entry of a private equity investor doesn't increase the debt of a company but quite contrary, it drastically reduces the debt load. In addition, management is provided with the necessary fresh liquidity needed to strengthen the operations of the company"
H.I.G. has significant experience with the development of call centers and business process outsourcing businesses and in the past has made several investments in the sector. Most recently, it developed Stream Holdings, a global call center/BPO firm, from USD 75 million in revenues to over USD 500 million.
About Walter Services
The Walter Services group, with approximately 8,000 employees, is the second largest call center operator in Germany and with 21 locations in Central Europe, is a strong outsourcing partner for its international customers. Walter Services is an industry expert for customer services and sales and supports business and consumer customers of numerous clients in different industries. The service portfolio ranges from covering parts of the customer communication to mapping all processes of their clients along their customer-value chain.
About H.I.G. Capital
H.I.G. Capital is a leading global private equity investment firm with more than € 7 billion of equity capital under management. Based in Miami, and with offices in Atlanta, Boston, New York, and San Francisco in the U.S., as well as affiliate offices in London, Hamburg and Paris in Europe, H.I.G. specializes in providing capital to small and medium-sized companies with attractive growth potential. H.I.G. invests in management-led buyouts and recapitalizations of profitable and well managed manufacturing or service businesses. Since its founding in 1993, H.I.G. invested in and managed more than 200 companies worldwide. The firm's current portfolio includes more than 50 companies with combined revenues in excess of € 6 billion. For more information, please refer to the H.I.G. website at www.higcapital.com.