Our success stories speak for themselves: Together with the portfolio companies, we are taking the next growth steps. We actively support them in their transformation. Our cases give you deeper insights – enjoy reading!
Succession solution paves the way for strong growth
Blue Cap AG acquired a stake in em-tec GmbH in 2014 as part of a succession solution. Even then, the company based near Munich was the market leader in the development and production of medical devices and blood-flow sensors. Today, one of the company’s core competencies is still non-invasive flow measurement using the ultrasonic transit-time method. At the time of the acquisition, this technology was mainly used for medical applications, particularly in the field of cardiac surgery and cardiac support systems.
The established positioning of the then family-run company in an attractive niche market was one of the main criteria for us for the full takeover. We recognised further growth potential for the technology used by the company, also for branches outside of medical technology. This niche market’s low susceptibility to cyclical fluctuations was another factor that made the acquisition attractive for us.
Support following acquisition
Our goal was to strengthen the company’s market position further and bring high-tech ultrasonic measurement to industries outside of medical technology. The first task, however, was to find a successor for the founder who was stepping down, and ensure a seamless change of management. It was particularly important to us in this process to preserve em-tec’s identity and corporate culture over the long term.
In the years following the acquisition, em-tec continually built up its product portfolio through innovative developments in the area of non-invasive flow measurement. Under Blue Cap AG’s watchful eye, the company grew into the world market leader for flow measurement in extracorporeal systems. The strategy of serving new sales markets was met by increased investments in sales activities. This enabled the company to significantly expand its market position in the growing bioprocess technology market.
The accelerated growth and strong starting position allowed for the expansion of the company’s organisation and also an increase in production capacities. Therefore, in 2018 – financed and supported by Blue Cap AG – the foundations were laid for the new company headquarters with space for 150 employees. Of particular importance was the new development centre, a 600-square-metre space where specialists today devote their time to creating product innovations.
While it was part of Blue Cap’s portfolio, em-tec was able to greatly improve its market position in the field of medical technology and successfully establish itself in the growing bioprocess technology market. This was clearly visible in the increase in revenue and earnings. Over the course of the investment, EBITDA more than tripled.
In 2020, Blue Cap sold its shares to the listed US company Dover Corporation. Dover Corporation is a diversified global producer of innovative devices, components, specialised systems, consumables, software and digital solutions and support services for a range of end markets, including medical and biopharmaceutical flow control applications. The sale offered em-tec great strategic potential. In the biopharmaceutical market above all, synergies were identified that can be leveraged under the new ownership.
In line with the best-owner approach, the sale to a strategic investor that can help em-tec to grow further was a resolute and lucrative step for Blue Cap that is in the best interests of em-tec. em-tec’s culture and identity will endure under the new owner due to the unique position of the technology in the market and the benefits of the new premises in Finning.
Numerous measures to support the growth course have led to impressive results
The origins of Biolink and Blue Cap’s story date back to 2009 with the investment in Planatol GmbH, an industrial adhesives manufacturer based in Rohrdorf. Planatol brought Biolink Gesellschaft für Verbindungstechnologien with it into the Blue Cap Group. At its subsidiary Biolink, Planatol developed and produced solvent-free adhesive tapes for industrial applications in the aviation, automotive, Viscom, electronics and construction sectors based on innovative technology. The company still specialises in high-quality customised and project-specific tape systems today. Biolink can boast strong technical development expertise and a high level of product variability.
Support following acquisition
One of the first actions we took was moving the company to a new location in Waakirchen in 2010. With this move, we significantly increased production capacity and created the framework for further growth.
Over the course of the following years, with Blue Cap’s support the company invested in the continued development of innovative coating technology and the expansion of production capacities in particular. The development and introduction of new coating systems enabled the company to improve quality and gain access to additional customer groups.
We also focused on expanding our business with customised coating products. By developing highly specialised applications, Biolink has been able to set itself apart from mass suppliers. This is reflected in above-average growth rates in the key sales markets of the automotive and aviation industries. Biolink gained well-known customers, developed long-term customer relationships and established itself as a strong development partner.
To support its course of growth, we focused on optimising the company’s structures and processes at all times. Blue Cap provided support in the expansion of the commercial company’s organisation and with the ERP system in particular.
Although the years before 2009 were marred by stagnation and low profitability, the company managed to get back onto a sustainably profitable growth course during its time with Blue Cap. Revenue and earnings increased significantly. Over the course of the investment, EBITDA rose almost tenfold.
In 2017, Blue Cap sold its Biolink shares to Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Isofluor GmbH, a member of the Saint-Gobain Group, via its subsidiary Planatol. The Saint-Gobain Group is a listed French industrial group that produces and distributes materials and solutions for the construction, mobility, health and other industrial applications markets. The sale resulted in a very attractive money multiple of around 45x.
Successful transformation through reorganisation and focus on core business
The story of con-pearl GmbH, Geismar, started in 1990 with the invention of con-pearl® technology. The company’s lightweight boards offer a wide range of uses and con-pearl soon started to produce different applications for the lightweight boards, e.g. in packaging for the logistics industry and van flooring and interior trims for the automotive industry. Since 2000, the company has operated its own recycling plant at the Leinefelde site (Thuringia) for the recycling of high-quality polypropylene plastics. This has broadened the company’s value added and enabled the recovery of a sustainable raw material from industrial waste. The plastic granulate obtained is processed either according to customer requirements and sold directly or into lightweight boards at the main plant.
The company had been through numerous changes to its shareholder structure and strategy in the past, and was broadly positioned in different areas of the market with products that had few synergies between them. As a result, the company, at the time called friedola Tech, was experiencing a financial crisis. Incoming orders had fallen significantly, and as a result revenue and earnings had also declined. The Bremen site, which produced car boot liners from carpet, had been making a loss for years. The company sought a new investor that could get it back on track to success.
An important investment criterion for Blue Cap AG is clear potential for transformation and value growth. When Blue Cap AG took over friedola Tech in August 2019, it could see significant potential for improvement despite the difficult situation the company was in. This related to the technology and innovation leadership expertise that the company had in the area of recyclable and weight-saving lightweight boards. A market analysis pointed to fundamental positive trends in various different end markets. This included a worldwide increase in trade volume (especially e-commerce), the trend towards lightweight solutions, e.g. in the automotive industry, and reusable transport packaging in the logistics sector. The technological leadership is supported by the company’s own recycling plant, which helps to make the company more independent of exogenous market influences and also enables it to meet the growing demands for sustainable products.
Support following acquisition
Shortly after the acquisition, we worked with the management to develop a plan for growth that involved focusing on the core business and reducing complexity. Strategically, our goal was to use the lightweight boards, with their attractive product properties such as flexibility, resistance, low weight and a high proportion of recycled raw materials, in other applications and to not only act as a supplier ourselves, but also to introduce complete systems to the market. First of all, loss-making areas such as the manufacture of car boot liners and the production of injection moulded parts for the automotive industry were closed down. The processes at the main plant in Geismar were restructured and, at the same time, efforts were focused on expanding the lightweight board business. Sales activities were boosted in order to tap into new customer groups, and the IT landscape was modernised thanks to additional investments. Alongside this, with Blue Cap’s support con-pearl acquired Recyplast GmbH in 2021, adding a second recycling site for plastics to its list. With this new site, the company can expand its raw material base and make it more attractive for recyclate customers and industrial companies that want to dispose of their plastic waste.
The strategic and operational measures introduced have helped put the company back on a profitable course for growth. con-pearl has broadened its customer base beyond the automotive industry, and has expanded its recycling business through add-on acquisitions. In future, the company will also be one of the few suppliers of reusable large load carriers in the market to be able to offer its customers a closed-loop solution from a single source. The focus is on expanding the logistics and e-commerce fulfilment customer segments, new market segments such as construction and interior design, and greater internationalisation.