GEP IV acquires majority in Bergmann Automotive as part of an ownership succession

Fund managed by ECM acquires Barsinghausen-based Bergmann Automotive GmbH in ownership succession-driven transaction

  • Focus on strengthening market position as leading supplier of cylinder liners in Europe
  • Investor with long-term orientation intends to realise further growth potential in partnership with existing management
  • First investment by the GEP IV fund which commenced investing in October 2012

German Equity Partners IV (“GEP IV”), a fund managed by the independent German private equity firm ECM Equity Capital Management (“ECM”), has acquired all of the shares in Bergmann Automotive GmbH (“Bergmann Automotive”), headquartered in Barsinghausen, in partnership with the company’s management in an ownership succession situation. The Bergmann family, who since acquisition in 2000 have developed the company, established in 1956, into one of the leading manufacturers of cylinder liners for the European automotive industry, has become a minority shareholder in the company. The management team at Bergmann Automotive has also acquired a stake in the company through the transaction. Size of the shareholding, purchase price and further details of the transaction were not disclosed. In the future the family-owned Bergmann Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG, headquartered in Meppen, will maintain focus on engineering through its two divisions vehicle manufacturing (dumpers) and manufacturing of mechanically treated components for middle and large volume series.

High technical competence and long-term customer relationships

Bergmann Automotive is one of the three leading suppliers of cylinder liners in Europe and generated sales of more than EUR 40 million in 2012 with approx. 175 employees. With a historic annual growth rate of approx. 20 per cent, the company has become an important partner and key supplier for the international automotive industry with long-standing customer relationships and product development partnerships. Its reference customers include prominent OEMs and automotive suppliers. Bergmann Automotive has been successful based on its competence in centrifugal casting and mechanical finishing, its high product quality as well as distinctive processing and procedures.

Positive market environment offers further growth potential

Cyliner liners are currently used mainly in aluminium engine blocks to allow proper functioning of piston stroke. The relevant end-market has grown by approx. 15 per cent annually since 2009 with further growth of 7 per cent p.a. expected for the period through 2015. Based on its extensive experience in production and product development, Bergmann Automotive benefits from the trend towards lighter aluminium-based engines. The resulting weight savings provided by these engines compared to cast-iron engines reduce the vehicle’s energy consumption.

Continuity in senior management and further company development

Having invested extensively in machinery and casting technology over the years the company seeks to improve its leading market position in Europe in its target market. In partnership with management ECM aims to support Bergmann Automotive to realise its international growth potential by investing in broadening its development competence, expanding its production capacities and strengthening the company’s sales efforts.

Bernhard Büthe, Chief Executive at Bergmann Automotive GmbH, comments: “It was important to us to find a responsible investment partner with a long-term approach who has a clear concept for capitalising on both domestic and international growth opportunities. In addition, the partner needs not only sound strategic instincts but also the capital that is required to achieve the next stage of growth. We’re happy to say that with ECM we have found that partner and that ECM also has relevant experience in guiding companies on the path to corporate independence.”

Florian Kähler, Director at ECM, added: “With a highly experienced and competent management team, in addition to domestic and European leadership in terms of market position and technology, Bergmann Automotive is ideally positioned to maintain its impressive record of growth. Together with the company’s management we are looking forward to further developing the company and to realise its significant potential.”

The acquisition of Bergmann Automotive is the first investment by the private equity fund GEP IV that commenced investing its EUR 230 million committed capital in October 2012. The fund is managed by ECM and aims to acquire majority shareholdings in mid-sized enterprises in the DACH region. GEP IV was advised by KPMG (Finance & Tax) in this transaction. Legal advice was provided by Allen & Overy, acquisition structuring by SJ Berwin and commercial due diligence by Rothgordt & Cie. Florian Kähler, Axel Eichmeyer and Alexander Schönborn are responsible for the transaction at ECM. The Bergmann Group was advised by Transfer Partners and legal advice was provided by Kapellmann und Partners, Düsseldorf.

About Bergmann Automotive GmbH (“Bergmann Automotive”)

Bergmann Automotive GmbH is one of Europe’s leading suppliers of cylinder liners. As a key supplier to international OEMs and automotive suppliers, Bergmann Automotive stands out by virtue of its extensive technological competence in centrifugal casting and mechanical finishing, as well as its premium-quality products. The company, which is growing at a dynamic rate, generated sales revenue of more than EUR 40 million in 2012 with approx. 175 employees.

Further information at:

On behalf of ECM:
Charles Barker Corporate Communications GmbH
Kornelia Spodzieja, phone +49(0)69 794090-40,
Tobias Eberle, phone +49(0)69 794090-24,