HIG Europe, the European arm of global private equity firm HIG Capital, has led the recapitalization via a consensual restructuring of the industry-leading German call centre operator Walter Services Holding GmbH (Walter Services).
The former shareholder consortium, led by Odewald & Cie, will hold a small co-investment after closing. HIG Europe is now the majority shareholder of Walter Services. Anchorage Capital is also an investor in the transaction.
The closing of the transaction is subject to antitrust and German bank authority approval. The acquisition of Walter Services is the fifth investment of HIG Europe in Germany in the last 18 months.
Walter Services was founded in 1978 and has approximately 8,000 employees. With revenues of EUR200 million, it is the second largest provider of business process outsourcing strategies in Germany, offering customised consulting and industry specific customer service and sales concepts for the sustainable improvement of customer relationships.
Jens Alsleben (pictured), Managing Director of HIG Europe in Germany, says: "We were able to complete this transaction after buying 100% of the bank debt of Walter Services and subsequently reaching a consensual agreement with its former owners. The path is now clear for the necessary financial restructuring by HIG and Anchorage. The debt will be significantly reduced and we will be injecting new capital in the company to facilitate growth."
Jörn-Marc Vogler, Principal of HIG Europe in Germany, says: "The debt reduction and recapitalization is a far-sighted decision and releases the great potential of Walter Services. We are committed to support management’s growth plans for Walter Services for the years to come on the basis of the newly gained financial flexibility and a solid and profitable platform."
Klaus Gumpp, Managing Director of Walter Services adds: "The management expressly welcomes the entry of HIG Europe and Anchorage. The implementation of necessary restructuring measures will clearly strengthen the competitive position of Walter Services and accelerate the transition to a customer oriented provider of value added services."
Wolfgang Biedermann, Managing Director of HIG Europe in Germany says: "Walter Services is an excellent example of a successful ‘De-Leverage-Buy-Out’ where the entry of a private equity investor doesn’t increase the debt of a company but quite contrary, it drastically reduces the debt load. In addition, management is provided with the necessary fresh liquidity needed to strengthen the operations of the company."
HIG has significant experience with the development of call centres and business process outsourcing businesses and in the past has made several investments in the sector. Most recently, it developed Stream Holdings, a global call centre/BPO firm, from USD75 million in revenues to over USD500 million.