KraussMaffei, the large German-based plastics processing machinery producer, is now part of its fourth ownership group since 2000, when the Mannesmann Group dissolved.
The new owner is Onex Corp., a private equity company based in Toronto which turned a very impressive profit on its ownership of Husky, another producer of injection molding machines, and hopes to do the same through its acquisition late last year of Davis-Standard, an American producer of extrusion machinery.
Onex combines its own “proprietary” capital with money invested from third parties and invests in companies with strong technology and brand positions that could benefit from investment and improved management in areas such as supply chain and information technology.
Onex paid Madison Capital Partners $732 million to acquire KraussMaffei or about 57% of annual sales—showing the continuing low valuation of molding machine producers. KM’s roots date to production of locomotives in the Nineteenth Century. KraussMaffei’s involvement with injection molding goes back to its takeover of Eckert & Ziegler GmbH in Weißenburg on 1964. KraussMaffei also includes the high-end Netstal Group, Berstorrf extruders, and a group that makes reaction injection molding systems.
Recent efforts to create synergies between Netstal and KM seemed to presage the acquisition by Onex. Another move that seemed to indicate a change was the appointment of Jan Siebert as CEO Jan. 1, replacing Dietmar Straub, who had held the job since 2007.
At a press conference at NPE2012 in Orlando in April, officials at KraussMaffei gave no indication that a change in ownership was being considered.
Some of the company’s technologies have been slow to develop—indicating the potential for investment from an owner with deep pockets and an eye on boosting valuation. One example is SkinForm, the combination of injection molding and reaction process machinery that permits the production of large-format contoured automotive interior parts in a single process step. BMW is using the process, but efforts to interest American-based automakers are still under way.
Onex made the acquisition through its Onex Partners III, which it describes as its $4.7 billion flagship private equity fund. KraussMaffei is its first European-based investment.
CEO Siebert said that KM intends to strengthen its global presence and build on success at the high-end of the industry.