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27 Jaunuary 2006   

STAR Capital Partners completes two new German investments

STAR Capital Partners (“STAR”), the European investment fund focused on investing in capital intensive businesses, announces the completion on 30th December 2005 of two new deals in Germany: Abellio GmbH and GSES GmbH. The combined equity investment (including expected future capital commitments to the businesses) is €70 million.

Abellio

STAR has acquired 75.2% of Abellio GmbH, the Essen-based public transport operator, from Abellio Beteilegungs GmbH (“ABG”) (wholly-owned by the City of Essen). ABG will continue to hold a minority stake in the business. Abellio is a leading operator of local transport services in Germany and during 2005 secured key rail and bus businesses in North Rhein Westfalia, Saxony, Lower Saxony and Saxony Anhalt. Abellio has interests in transport operations covering over 17 million kilometers per annum.

The Company is led by Wolfgang Meyer (CEO) and Iain Lanaghan (CFO), formerly Group Finance Director of FirstGroup plc in the UK. Giles Fearnley (former Chief Executive of Prism Rail plc) will join the Board alongside STAR representatives.

Graham Lee, Investment Director of STAR, said:

“This is our first joint venture with the public sector and we are thrilled to invest in this exciting opportunity. We look forward to supporting Abellio and its highly experienced management to develop the business into Germany’s leading independent public transport operator.”

Wolfgang Meyer, CEO of Abellio, said:

"We welcome the support of STAR and believe that the partnership will enable Abellio to take full advantage of the significant opportunities in this growing market and to provide attractive solutions for public transport authorities."

GSES

STAR has also acquired GSES, one of Europe's leading underground waste facility operators. The business was acquired from a consortium of investors led by First Analysis (a US private equity group). GSES is the owner and operator of a salt mine in Thuringia, which is used predominantly for the disposal of commercial and industrial waste. This niche area of the waste market is growing in importance as EU and member state regulations increasingly restrict access to surface landfills.

Stephen Wright, Managing Director of STAR, commented:

"GSES plays an essential role in reducing the environmental impact from the disposal of hazardous waste and we therefore believe it has excellent prospects for future growth. We look forward to working with the existing management team who have successfully developed the business from a start-up in 1995."

Jaap van Engers, founder and Managing Director of GSES, said:

"We are very excited to have STAR as a partner for GSES. Their support will allow us to continue to offer our clients a reliable long term olution to their waste disposal needs and enable us to invest to broaden the services we offer."

Peter Kuehnle, Business Development Director of STAR in Germany, commented:

"We are very pleased to announce these two transactions which each reflect our strategy to invest in strategic, capital intensive assets. Together with our two existing investments in German businesses, this also demonstrates our commitment to the German economy."


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