3i sells Wendt to Winterthur Technologie

27 Jun 2007

3i, Europe’s leading mid-market private equity and venture capital company, has sold Wendt Holding, a leading German manufacturer of abrasive grinding tools and related machinery, to Switzerland’s Winterthur Technologie AG for around €100m.

Wendt, based in Meerbusch, Germany, specialises in grinding technologies for processing hard materials such as steel, glass, metals, ceramics and polycrystalline materials used across the automobile, airplane and tools industries. Winterthur’s product range includes vitrified bonded wheels, resin-bonded wheels, cut-off wheels, and superabrasive grinding tools. The change in ownership complements the operations of both businesses, while also increasing their international presence. 

3i backed the management buyout of Wendt from mining company Anglo American plc in March 2005. Since that time, 3i has assisted the business’s expansion into China and accelerated a number of growth projects and product innovations. Moreover, 3i expanded Wendt’s management team with the appointment of CFO Markus Dreihues.

“We’re very pleased that we have divested our holding to Wintherthur Technologie, a strategic investor whose business perfectly fits that of Wendt,” said Peter Wirtz, director of 3i Germany. “In the past two years, Wendt has strengthened its excellent market position for the most technologically sophisticated grinding solutions, which led to our receiving offers from a number of parties. Furthermore, it was also the wish of Wendt’s management to come under Winterthur’s ownership as both companies complement each other superbly and Wendt, as a result, is provided with an excellent basis for further growth. We wish both companies continued success in the future.”

Commenting on the transaction, Norbert Lamers, CEO of Wendt Group, said: “This acquisition is a win for all parties involved, above all for Wendt. Together with Winterthur we will achieve technological leadership in the area of high-precision grinding solutions. This has been made possible not least by the very good partnership with our investor 3i, which understood our business and supported the development of new machines. Its international network provided the pivotal push to our expansion into international markets.”

About 3i

3i is a world leader in private equity and venture capital.  We focus on Buyouts, Growth Capital and Venture Capital and invest across Europe, in the United States and in Asia. Our competitive advantage comes from our international network and the strength and breadth of our relationships in business.  These underpin the value that we deliver to our portfolio and to our shareholders. 
The 3i European Buyout Business is a leader in the European mid-market.  We lead mid-market buyouts up to €1bn using insight from our local knowledge, international connections, and our sector teams.  Managing €3bn invested in over 60 companies across Europe, the business invests in all sectors, with a particular focus on media, healthcare and business support services. 3i recently raised a €5bn fund, the largest fund in Europe dedicated to mid-market buyouts. ‘Eurofund V’ will be invested in buyout transactions over the next four years, primarily in Europe.