Bergen, January 31st – The conveyor technology specialist Wegener+Stapel (W+S) has been sold to the AFT Group, an investment of the industrial holding company CERTINA, in the course of a transferable restructuring. As a result, the jobs of approx. 50 employees could be secured and the company was helped to have a secure future.
W+S was founded in 1967 in Bergen, Lower Saxony, where the company is still based today. The company produces and sells system solutions in the field of conveyor and lifting technology for the automotive, production and logistics industries. W+S has many years of experience in the planning, production and implementation of large-scale projects for OEMs, Tier 1 automotive suppliers and blue chip companies around the world.
In 2019, the company had fallen into an imbalance because the management at the time was no longer able to secure the necessary working capital financing for the change of course initiated in 2016-2018. The resulting liquidity crisis could not be covered by the current account lines that had been reduced in previous years. For this reason, an application was made for the opening of provisional insolvency proceedings due to the threat of insolvency. The insolvency administrator in charge, attorney Boris Freiherr von dem Bussche, had already looked for potential interested parties shortly after the start of the proceedings, with the help of the team led by partner Johannes von Neumann-Cosel of corporate finance consultancy FalkenSteg.
From the very outset of the M&A process, the AFT Group showed strong interest. On the basis of its complementary product range and geographical positioning in northern Germany, W+S offers great synergy potential for the AFT Group. In particular, the extensive experience in the field of light conveyor technology (24V) allows the AFT Group to react flexibly and effectively to future market developments, also with regard to the upcoming investments in electric mobility.
As part of the asset deal, the business activities will be transferred to the AFT Group and all existing employment contracts of the approximately 50 employees will be continued. The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of January 2020.
About BUSSCHE – ŞAHIN – BÜLOW (BṢB) Rechtsanwälte (Insolvency administration)
BṢB Rechtsanwälte is a partner-managed law firm with 6 offices in Frankfurt, Hanover and Minden, among others. The competences of BṢB include insolvency administration, insolvency plan proceedings and legal and restructuring advice. Since its foundation in 2011, BṢB Rechtsanwälte has successfully demonstrated its expertise in the continuation and restructuring of numerous companies. BṢB Rechtsanwälte has relevant client references in the pharmaceutical, construction, healthcare and mechanical engineering industries.
About AFT Group and Certina Holding AG
The AFT Group, with headquarters in Schopfheim, Bautzen, China, USA, UK, Poland and Mexico, is one of the world’s largest and most traditional materials handling companies with leading market positions in all its fields of activity. 240 employees plan, sell and design new systems or extensions of existing systems worldwide, each tailored to the individual customer’s needs. Thanks to the development of innovative technology, the AFT Group has been a valued partner for projects in internal material flow for more than 30 years.
The parent company of the AFT Group, Certina Holding AG, is a medium-sized group based in Munich that acts as a holding company for specialty production companies in Germany. Certina structures its investments in the areas of mechanical engineering and plant construction, information technology and software, automotive and the wood and construction supply industry.
FalkenSteg is a partner-managed restructuring boutique with 4 locations in Germany and over 40 employees. FalkenSteg handles mandates of all sizes and industries in the areas of restructuring, debtor-in-possession management, corporate finance, real estate, debt advisory and forensics. In the field of corporate finance FalkenSteg has become one of the leading market players for distressed M&A cases in recent years.