RWE Deutschland Buys Stake in PE-backed Vitronet

RWE Deutschland has acquired a 15% stake in Vitronet Group, a German maker of glass fiber infrastructure products. The company’s private equity backer, Ventizz Capital Partners, is selling the 15% stake to RWE, according to a statement Monday. Terms of the sale were not released. The firm, via its Ventizz Capital Fund IV L.P., retains 61% of Vitronet.

PRESS RELEASE

RWE Deutschland AG has bought a 15% stake in vitronet Group, a provider of turnkey glass fiber infrastructure solutions, headquartered in Essen. “Our investment in vitronet provides us with access to the valuable knowhow of a successful company. There is a backlog in the provision of broadband networks particularly in rural areas. We would like to support our local partners in this expansion and have already successfully implemented several broadband projects with local partners. At the same time we are strengthening our involvement in the development of smart grids, without which an energy shift in Germany will not be possible,” said Dr. Arndt Neuhaus, CEO of RWE Deutschland AG.

vitronet has specialized in the expansion of broadband networks and offers a full range of services from project management consultancy to maintenance and servicing. The company has 130 employees at present. vitronet maintains and services over 10,000km of glass fiber cables including for companies in the RWE Deutschland Group. Clients include telecoms providers, cable network operators, energy suppliers and municipal utilities companies. vitronet combines its own glass fiber network sections with sections of third parties and closes any supply gaps by laying broadband cables. With the establishment of essen.net GmbH and Glasfaser Bochum GmbH, the company is pushing ahead with its expansion of glass fiber household connections in the Ruhrgebiet cities of Essen and Bochum, in cooperation with utilities companies amongst others. “Modern IT and communication technologies are unthinkable without glass fibers. With RWE we now have the right partner to further expand our business,” said Harald Ross, managing director of vitronet Group.

RWE Deutschland also develops innovative broadband internet solutions which are implemented together with partners, for example in Rheinland-Pfalz. The investment in vitronet strengthens our expertise, particularly in the planning and production of glass fibers. The company share taken over by RWE Deutschland was newly formed as part of a capital increase. The investor Ventizz Capital Fund IV L.P. retains 61% of vitronet, while managing director Harald Ross retains 24%.

“Glass fibers lie at the heart of the information society. With its technology, vitronet is on the best path to becoming one of the major players in the development and expansion of glass fiber infrastructure in Germany. RWE’s investment highlights the success vitronet has had up to now and opens new strategic perspectives,” said Willi Mannheims, member of the management board and partner of Ventizz Capital Partners Advisory AG which advises solely the Ventizz funds. Ventizz Capital Fund IV L.P. has held shares in the company since spring 2010 and has since then contributed to vitronet’s expansion considerably.

About Ventizz Capital Partners
Ventizz Capital Partners was set up in 2000 and has offices in St. Gallen, Düsseldorf, Zürich and Vienna. Ventizz Capital Partners advises solely Ventizz Private Equity funds which provide equity capital for growth in high tech companies predominantly in the German-speaking region. Four partners and a team of a further 15 professionals currently advise four funds with a total capital volume of EUR 675m. The Ventizz Capital Fund IV L.P. is the largest of the four hitherto issued funds. The fund was closed at the end of 2007 after a mere six month fundraising process which raised EUR 450m, making it one of the biggest private equity funds in the area of growth capital and mid-size tech buyouts in the German-speaking region.

Ventizz funds have to date invested in 39 companies with a focus on the areas of renewable energy, medical technology, information and communication technology, and other industry sectors with high added value. In addition to many trade sales, Ventizz has brought three portfolio companies (ersol, SAF, PV Crystalox Solar) to the stock market.

About RWE Deutschland AG
RWE Deutschland AG is based in Essen and is the operating company for electricity
grids, gas and water supplies, sales and energy efficiency in the RWE Group. The company owns one of the largest distribution grids in Germany. RWE Deutschland has subsidiaries for sales and distribution grid operation, grid services and gas storage facilities. Other owned companies pool energy efficiency activities, including electromobility, and the development and operation of smart meters. RWE Deutschland has interests in 70 regional and municipal energy utilities; and has 21,000 employees.