Livingstone has advised the shareholders of AT – Automation Technology GmbH („AT“) on the sale of a majority share to PINOVA Capital GmbH („PINOVA“) and acted as exclusive M&A advisor to the sellers.
AT – Automation Technology GmbH, based in Bad Oldesloe, Germany, was founded in 1998 by Michael Wandelt and Dr. André Kasper. The company is a global technology leader for sophisticated vision sensors. It develops and manufactures 3D sensors and sensor solutions for industrial automation as well as smart infrared cameras for condition monitoring and inspection tasks (e.g. non-destructive testing). With more than 20 years of application specific know-how, AT provides both standardized and application specific product solutions which are used in a wide range of customer industries, e.g. automotive, aerospace, plastics processing or electronics.
During the last years, AT successfully transformed itself from a supplier of customer specific systems to a technology leader also for scalable, “off-the-shelf” product solutions and thus paved the path to even better exploit the growth opportunities in the rapidly advancing automation technology market. With the launch of the world’s first smart infrared camera as an all-in-one solution (i.e. making the use of computers, external interfaces and specialized thermal imaging software obsolete), AT offers a worldwide unique and scalable product also in the infrared segment.
The former managing shareholders will continue their duties as managing directors of AT after the completion of the transaction and will remain minority shareholders. Michael Wandelt, founder and CEO of AT, comments: “AT is a traditionally “engineer-driven” company and has continuously shown strong growth in the last years. With PINOVA, we now found a suitable partner who, based on its broad experience, is able to support the company’s further development as well as the establishment of the structures required for future growth”.
PINOVA is an independent private equity firm for the equity financing of fast-growing, innovative medium-sized companies in the German-speaking region with revenues between EUR 10 million and EUR 75 million and equity requirements between EUR 10 million and EUR 50 million. For PINOVA, the investment in AT is already the second vision technology investment in the strongly growing industrial automation segment following the acquisition of Sill Optics in 2019.
Herbert Seggewiß, Partner at PINOVA, comments: “The acquisition of AT is a very attractive extension of our investment portfolio. We are pleased that we succeeded in the competitive sales process and that, together with Michael Wandelt and Dr. André Kasper, we will now be able to accelerate the further development of AT over the next years and to exploit the growth potentials in this dynamic market. “
“Livingstone advised us trustfully and comprehensively throughout the entire sales process and played a major role in structuring the transaction and finding the right partner for our company. We are very pleased that we found a strong partner in PINOVA, who despite the corona pandemic has remained committed to closing the transaction”, says Dr. André Kasper, founder and CTO of AT..
Ralph Hagelgans and Philip Dorsemagen, Partner and Director at Livingstone Partners, add: AT-Automation Technology is a clear market leader in its niche, providing market leading technology, product solutions with clear Unique Selling Points and excellent customer service. At the same time, however, the company has to take the next major growth step, comprising the general organization of the company, its sales structure along with its further international setup. For the implementation of this strategy, the shareholders have now found the ideal partner in PINOVA who contributes this know-how. We would like to thank Mr Wandelt and Dr Kasper for their trust and the close and successful collaboration. “