European mid-market firm Cognetas puts three German businesses for sale as it looks to close a €1 billion fund

European mid-market firm Cognetas has put three German businesses for sale as it seeks to close a €1 billion fund raised almost a decade ago, Reuters said. The firm is looking to sell aluminium auto parts maker KSM Castings, pond equipment firm Oase, and advertising and communications agency Commarco, the three remaining investments in its 2001 vintage fund.

KSM, which manufactures the front chassis for Volkswagen Golfs, is expected to attract the interest of private equity firms, as well as trade buyers in India and China, and could fetch around €300m. There had been talks in 2008 to sell the business to Indian companu Amtek Auto in 2008, but no deal was reached.

Acquired in 2002, Oase makes pumps and filtration systems for garden ponds, while advertising agency Commarco was acquired by the firm in 2003, when it was still known as Scholz & Friends.
Cognetas is a private equity firm focused on leveraged buyout investments in European middle-market companies across a range of industries. The firm, has offices in London, Frankfurt, Milan and Paris. The firm was founded in 1989 as Electra Partners Europe and affiliate of Electra Private Equity, a listed investment trust. The firm has raised approximately €2.3 billion since inception across its two funds.

In 2005, Electra Partners Europe completed a spinout from its investment trust parent. The following year, in 2006, the firm renamed itself Cognetas. As of 2009, Cognetas managed two private equity funds, most recently a €1.25 billion fund raised in 2006. In 2008, Electra initiated a new middle market private equity business, unrelated to Cognetas, and completed raising a £100 million fund for new investments in May 2008.

Commarco is the largest holding for communications and marketing services based in Germany. Under the roof of the holding company, about 30 advertising and specialized agencies provide the entire spectrum of communication disciplines.

The agencies of the holding employ approximately 1,400 employees across Europe. Currently approximately 65 percent of the company is held by a private equity firm, Cognetas and the other 35 percent of the shares are held by the management.

Within business services sector, Cognetas prefers to invest in outsourced services, logistics and transportation, facilities management, and other business services. In the healthcare sector, the firm prefers to invest in the healthcare services and equipment sectors. It typically invests in companies based in Europe and France.

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