KKR Asset Management, a sub-investment grade manager owned by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, has agreed to acquire cutting technology business Winoa Group from LBO France. The deal will allow for a recapitalization of the business through reduction of debt and access to new money for growth. The transaction still needs approval by authorities.
A consortium led by KKR Asset Management (“KAM”), a leading sub-investment grade manager that is wholly owned by KKR today announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Winoa Group from LBO France.
“With this investment, we combined the strength of our European-based Special Situations team, the local knowledge of our French KKR team, and the deep industrial sector expertise of the firm, particularly in France, to establish a fruitful partnership for both parties.”
The acquisition facilitates a recapitalization of the business through a significant reduction of the debt and access to new money for growth. Winoa Group, formerly Wheelabrator Allevard, is a world leader in abrasion and cutting technologies for the metal and stone industries. Founded in 1961 in France, Winoa offers its customers around the world high performance, cost effective and environmentally friendly solutions for the surface transformation of their products. The company has 12 operational plants on four continents, employs over 1000 staff and has 10,000 direct customers worldwide.
The investment by KKR has been made through investment funds managed by KAM Special Situations, which makes strategic, long-term investments in good companies whose capital structure is under pressure and whereby resources are provided to build a sustainable capital structure and improve operations with a focus on growth.
Yves Barraquand, Chairman and CEO of Winoa, said: “I am pleased to announce Winoa’s partnership with a highly reputable international investor such as KKR. This solution is really good news for Winoa and our employees. It provides a stable financial structure, additional funding to realise our growth plans and a clear governance structure centred around a committed and experienced investor.”
Mubashir Mukadam, Head of Special Situations for KKR Europe said: “Winoa is an industrial company with excellent sector-expertise and global ambitions. This is exactly the type of company that we like to support. Amidst the current dislocation in the European markets, we have made, and will continue to make, investments in such enterprises.”
Jacques Garaialde, Member and head of KKR operations in France, commented: “With this investment, we combined the strength of our European-based Special Situations team, the local knowledge of our French KKR team, and the deep industrial sector expertise of the firm, particularly in France, to establish a fruitful partnership for both parties.”
The closing of this transaction remains subject to approval by the authorities.
Founded in 1976 and led by Henry Kravis and George Roberts, KKR is a leading global investment firm with $90.2 billion in assets under management as of September 30, 2013. With offices around the world, KKR manages assets through a variety of investment funds and accounts covering multiple asset classes. KKR seeks to create value by bringing operational expertise to its portfolio companies and through active oversight and monitoring of its investments. KKR complements its investment expertise and strengthens interactions with fund investors through its client relationships and capital markets platform. KKR & Co. L.P. is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: KKR) and “KKR”, as used in this release, includes its subsidiaries, their managed investment funds and accounts, and/or their affiliated investment vehicles, as appropriate.
About KKR Asset Management:
Launched by KKR in 2004, KAM invests on behalf of its managed funds, clients and accounts across long/short equities and the corporate credit spectrum, including secured credit, bank loans and high yield securities and alternative assets such as mezzanine financing, special situations investing and structured finance. With more than 100 employees, including 50 investment professionals, KAM’s investment teams are closely aligned with KKR’s wealth of private equity investment and industry resources. KAM has $20.9 billion in assets under management as of September 30, 2013.
For additional information, please visit KKR’s website at www.kkr.com.
Winoa, founded in 1961 under the name Wheelabrator Allevard through a joint venture between a subsidiary of the French group Wendel and the US operator Wheelabrator Corporation, was purchased in 2005 by the LBO France investment fund, with a stake held by senior management.
The mission of Winoa is to provide easy-to-use, cost-effective and environmentally–friendly solutions on a worldwide basis for the treatment or transformation of metal surfaces (cleaning, preparation and strengthening), and for the cutting of stone. Buoyed by an active policy of organic growth and strategic buy-outs, Winoa quickly rose to become the world’s leading name for the production of steel shot and related services, commercialized primarily under the label W Abrasives. The Group has also developed Phenics, a groundbreaking on-site treatment process for metal structures.
The main market outlets are, amongst others, the automotive, steel and construction industries, all highly exposed to the current economic downturn. Since the recession of 2008 and a slow-down in demand across Western Europe, Winoa has found growth drivers by opening industrial facilities in emerging countries (particularly Russia and China), and by developing research and solutions services, both of which offer high added-value.
* As at December 31, 2012, on a like-to-like basis (excluding diamond tools)
– Revenues of €370 million
– EBITDA: €50 million
– 1,077 employees, of whom 15% in France
– 12 plants on 4 continents and 5 testing and research facilities
– 80 sales offices and depots in 30 countries
– 240 agents and distributors and 10,000 direct customers
For additional information, please visit: www.winoagroup.com