GEP IV invests in Hamburg based Albrecht & Dill Cosmetics

ECM-managed fund acquires stake in Hamburg based Albrecht & Dill Cosmetics GmbH 

  • Distributor of exclusive fragrances in Germany, Austria and Switzerland aims to continue its success story with a new, financially strong partner
  • Focus on organic growth and active market consolidation in the DACH-region
  • Leading market position based on exclusive distribution rights for luxury and lifestyle brands as well as comprehensive marketing and logistics expertise in the highly fragmented fragrances market offers attractive growth platform

German Equity Partners IV (“GEP IV” or “the fund”), a private equity fund managed by the independent German investment company ECM Equity Capital Management GmbH (“ECM”), has acquired a stake in Albrecht & Dill Cosmetics GmbH (“A&D”), one of the leading distributors of exclusive fragrances in the DACH region. This was announced by ECM and A&D today following signing and the simultaneous closing of the transaction on February 28. The previous sole owner, Philipp Sahling, will continue to run the company as Managing Partner. As part of the transaction, the extended management team will also invest in the traditional Hamburg-based company. Together, the partners aim to continue the company’s successful track record and, on the basis of A&D’s strong market position, realize its substantial growth potential. The parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price and further details of the transaction.

Leading distributor of exclusive fragrances and cosmetics in the DACH region

Albrecht & Dill Cosmetics GmbH originates from a traditional Hanseatic trading company and has been one of the leading companies in the selective distribution of high-quality fragrances and care products in the luxury and lifestyle segment since 1950. Under the leadership of Philipp Sahling, the brand portfolio has been continuously expanded since 2001. Based on his individual and passionate approach to luxury fragrances, the company has developed extensive marketing and logistics expertise and has become one of the leading distributors in its field.

Today, A&D distributes an extensive and attractive fragrance brand portfolio, based on long-term and exclusive distribution agreements, mainly through selected specialist fragrance retailers. The assortment includes brands such as Cartier, Lalique, Amouage and Penhaligon’s. A&D provides access to a highly fragmented fragrance retail landscape for independent fragrance manufacturers, who often do not have their own sales teams. The department stores supplied by A&D include Ludwig Beck in Munich, KaDeWe and Galeries Lafayette in Berlin, the luxury department stores Jelmoli and Globus in Zurich, and more than 600 established selected specialist fragrance retailers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. A&D also offers its customers in the fragrance retail industry high-quality services, such as exclusive and individual selection of assortments as well as comprehensive marketing services to ensure appropriate and high-quality brand presentation.

In addition, A&D has a comprehensive portfolio of exclusive distribution rights for fragrances that are aimed at a broader customer base and are distributed through distribution partnerships with drugstore chains such as RossmannMüller and dm. A&D provides these customers with access to established fragrance brands such as Jaguar, and at the same time ensures high, efficient and cost-effective use of shelf space.

Substantial growth potential in the attractive fragrances market

The strong fragmentation of the fragrances market in terms of both, independent manufacturers as well as retailers, continues to offer substantial growth potential in the future, which A&D intends to leverage in partnership with ECM. This particularly includes the selective expansion of the fragrances portfolio and the continuous expansion of the company’s retail network. Based on its strong market position, the company also intends to take an active role in the consolidation of the market, selectively also beyond the borders of the DACH-region.

Expansion of the management team

In light of the company’s targeted further growth, A&D expanded its management team at the beginning of the year: Jochen Delvendahl took over responsibility for marketing and sales at A&D effective January 1. He brings with him almost 30 years of extensive sales and industry experience with leading brands and suppliers to the fragrances and cosmetics industry. From 2004 to 2010, he was Head of Bulgari Parfums Deutschland. Most recently he was Managing Director of ITF Germany (since 2017 known as Angelini Beauty). With his vast experience, Jochen Delvendahl will expand A&D’s retail network and establish contacts with retailers who are not yet part of the A&D customer base.

In addition, the long-standing executive Nadine Cetl has been promoted to Managing Director effective January 2018 and will continue be responsible for Purchasing and Logistics. Together with Stephan Langberg (Commercial Director) she stands for continuity in the management team. They will be supported by Philipp Sahling, the previous sole shareholder, who will continue to actively shape the company’s strategic direction as Managing Partner with his extensive expertise in the area of exclusive fragrances.

New shareholder with extensive experience in implementing growth strategies

In partnership with the experienced management team, ECM, as the new shareholder, aims to actively support and accompany the Hamburg-based company on its growth path in the long term. ECM has extensive experience in the implementation of growth as well as buy & build strategies and has demonstrated this competency already with a number  of portfolio companies in the Hanseatic City of Hamburg. In October 2016, the ECM-managed fund GEP IV acquired a stake in the DERMATOLOGIKUM HAMBURG, one of the largest private specialist institutions for the diagnosis and therapy of skin diseases in Europe. Last year, DERMATOLOGIKUM HAMBURG opened its first two foreign locations in Zurich (September) and Vienna (December) with the support of GEP IV. Another Hamburg transaction of GEP IV includes the acquisition of WIENERS+WIENERS, the Hamburg-based leading provider of premium language services, which acquired the Swiss premium translation services provider Apostroph in April 2017 with the support of ECM.

Philipp Sahling, Managing Director of Albrecht & Dill Cosmetics, stated: “With our passion for exclusive fragrances, we have developed A&D into one of the leading players in distribution in this market segment over the past 15 years, creating an attractive growth platform in a dynamic market. In order to realize A&D’s substantial growth potential, we have expanded our management team and decided to enter into a partnership with ECM. The ECM team has convinced us with their understanding of our market and their extensive experience in implementing growth strategies. Together, we will continue to expand A&D’s leading position – also beyond the borders of the DACH-region.”

Florian Kähler, Partner and Managing Director of ECM, added: “A&D is already one of the largest and most important distributors of fragrances in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and has firmly established itself as intermediary between brand manufacturers and retailers. ECM will accompany A&D on its further path to success and support the experienced management team in continuing its growth path of recent years. We are very much looking forward to working together as partners.”

For this transaction, GEP IV was advised by Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy (legal and structuring), EY Parthenon (market due diligence), Ebner Stolz (financial and tax) and Willis Towers Watson (insurance). The team at ECM responsible for the transaction is comprised of Florian Kähler, Florian Thelenberg, Alexander Schönborn, Marius Buxkämper and Christoph Demers. Transaction initiation and advice for Albrecht & Dill was provided by Pestlin & Co. and legal and tax advice by Allen & Overy.

About Albrecht & Dill

Albrecht und Dill Cosmetics GmbH originates from a traditional Hanseatic trading company and has been one of the leading companies in the selective distribution of high-quality fragrances in the luxury and lifestyle segment since 1950. As a partner of international brand manufacturers, A&D imports their products and supports them with respect to a professional and targeted growth strategy. The brand portfolio includes, inter alia, CartierLaliqueAmouage and Penhaligon’s. In addition, A&D’s brand portfolio includes international niche brands, lifestyle brands and designer labels such as Jaguar and Chopard.

Weiterführende Informationen:

On behalf of ECM:
Charles Barker Corporate Communications GmbH
Jan Hromadko, Kornelia Spodzieja, Phone 069 794090-44,