German caravan maker Hymer attracts private equity interest, say sources: Reuters

Family-owned Erwin Hymer Group has attracted interest from private equity as it explores a stock market flotation which could value the German mobile home manufacturer at up to 3 billion euros ($3.51 billion), people close to the matter said.

Buyout groups KPS and Centerbridge are expected to submit final bids by early September for the owner of the Hymer, Dethleff’s and Buerstner recreational vehicle brands, the sources said, adding that Hymer’s owners may still opt for a listing.

Erwin Hymer Group is currently conducting a dual track process, with options including an initial public offering (IPO) or taking in an external investor, a Hymer spokesman said.

Centerbridge declined to comment, while KPS was not immediately available for comment.

The family owners, which are seeking funds for Hymer investments in North America and Asia, initially only planned to divest a minority, but have opened up to the idea of selling a controlling stake, the sources said.
Hymer is expected to post earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of more than 250 million euros this year and of roughly 300 million in 2019.

It may reap a valuation of 2-2.5 billion euros in a potential stake sale to private equity, while it could be valued at 2.5-3 billion euros in a potential IPO, the sources said.

U.S. peer Winnebago (WGO.N) trades at 8 times while French peer Trigano (TRIA.PA) trades at 9.5 times its expected core earnings, down a fifth since missing analysts’ third-quarter earnings expectations this month.
German rival Knaus Tabbert canceled its stock market plans in April.

Sales of caravans and other recreation vehicles have surged in recent years, rising 8.4 percent in 2017, according to the European Caravan Federation, which said this month that it expects sales to again grow by a single-digit percentage this year. Sales in the first half of 2018 were up 4 percent.

The industry usually thrives in times of strong growth, while plunging in downturns as consumers cut down on non-essential spending.

Erwin Hymer Group traces its roots to a business founded by wheelwright and coachbuilder Alfons Hymer in southern Germany in 1923.

It employs 6,000 staff, sold 55,000 vehicles in its fiscal year 2016/17 ending in August and generates annual revenue of 2.1 billion euros ($2.59 billion). It has plans to set up a China production site.