Keensight Capital to exit ASTI

Keensight Capital, a private equity manager dedicated to pan-European Growth Buyout investments, is to sell, alongside the founder, its stake in ASTI, a global autonomous mobile robotics (AMR) manufacturer, to ABB.

Founded in 1982, ASTI supports one of Europe’s largest installed fleets of Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) and has a broad customer base in automotive, logistics, food & beverage, and pharmaceutical in 20 countries worldwide. Since 2015, the company has enjoyed ~30 per cent growth on an annual basis and is targeting approximately USD50 million in orders in 2021. ASTI employs over 300 people in Spain, France and Germany.

ASTI’s industry-leading AMR portfolio includes autonomous towing vehicles, goods-to-person solutions, unit carriers and box movers as well as a comprehensive software offering, ranging from vehicle navigation and control, fleet and order management and cloud-based traceability systems. These will be integrated with ABB’s robotics and automation offering, creating a unique and comprehensive automation portfolio for ABB’s customers.

Since its investment in ASTI in 2019, Keensight Capital has supported the company and its management team in the international expansion of its activities through organic growth as well as bolt-on acquisitions, such as InSystems Automation GmbH, a German company specialized in the development of innovative automation solutions creating one of the broadest range of AMRs in the market.

AMRs will support an unprecedented degree of flexibility, from production, logistics, intralogistics and fulfilment through to retail and healthcare environments. This will enable ASTI’s and ABB’s common vision to help customers replace today’s linear production lines with fully flexible networks, where intelligent AMR’s autonomously navigate materials, parts and finished products between smart connected workstations, in factories, logistics centres, laboratories, shops or hospitals.

Verónica Pascual Boé, ASTI owner and CEO, says: “ABB’s vision is a perfect match for us, as we both support our customers’ flexibility and competitiveness through accelerating automation in the workplace. This is the next exciting stage of our journey following our remarkable partnership with Keensight Capital’s team, and together with ABB we will accelerate our innovation plans, expand our global production capacity and leverage ABB’s market access, particularly in China.”

Jean-Michel Beghin, Managing Partner at Keensight Capital, adds: “ASTI is a great example of a success story backed by Keensight Capital and reflects our investment strategy in fast-growing and profitable companies. During our tenure as a shareholder, Keensight Capital’s team played an active role in the reinforcement of ASTI’s position as a European leader AMR supplier. We are proud to have collaborated with management to grow ASTI into the company it is today, and we wish ASTI, its outstanding employees, and ABB all the best as they continue this valuable work.”