The Livingstone Distressed M&A team exclusively advised the management of Pentapart Beteiligungskapital GmbH (“Pentapart”) on the acquisition of the essential assets of the insolvent Westiform GmbH & Co. KG (“Westiform”), Ortenberg. The parties have agreed not to disclose the terms of the transaction.
Westiform is one of the leading suppliers of illuminated advertising in Europe and was founded after the takeover of Boos+Hahn by the Swiss Westiform Group in 1989. For decades, the company has been successfully active in the planning and realization of visual communication in interior and exterior spaces. The core business is in the field of illuminated advertising and digital signage. The company is sector-independent and has a well-known customer base, which includes major corporations such as Bayer, Bosch and RWE.
On October 24, 2019, the management of Westiform filed for insolvency at the Offenburg Local Court. The proceedings were opened on January 1, 2020. Lawyer Dr. Dirk Pehl from the law firm Schultze & Braun, Achern, was appointed as the insolvency administrator. In October 2019, the company experienced an unexpectedly high decline in sales, particularly among customers from the automotive industry. “The current sales level has been taken into account in the company’s future planning and capacities were adjusted accordingly. Thereby, a stable solution to continue operations and to keep the remaining employees employed has been developed,” explained insolvency administrator Dr. Pehl. Pentapart is taking over around 130 of the former 200 employees as part of the acquisition. The employees who are affected by the redundancies will be transferred to a transitional company for at least six months.
Since filing for insolvency, Dr. Pehl has continued business operations despite the COVID-19 pandemic. “The pandemic has significantly increased the uncertainties regarding the future prospects of Westiform. It was also not conductive for the search for possible investors. Therefore, we are especially pleased for the employees that in Pentapart, an investor has been found who, despite the current situation, is convinced of the business model and the Ortenberg location”, says Dr. Pehl.
The new owner, financial investor Pentapart, based in Altenmedingen near Lüneburg (Lower Saxony), has specialized particularly in small and medium-sized companies in the German-speaking region. Pentapart’s Managing Director and future Managing Director of Westiform, Christian Dreser: “We are certain that we will be a stable and reliable partner for Westiform, especially during the currently prevailing imponderables. I am already looking forward to a successful and long-term collaboration with our employees, customers and suppliers. We are convinced of the sustainable potential of the company and are now working together to lead Westiform through the current crisis for the time being and, in a next step, to further expand the company’s leading position in the field of illuminated advertising.”
Dr. André Schröer, Partner at Livingstone in Düsseldorf, adds: “Pentapart has found an ideal addition in Westiform for their existing portfolio. We would like to thank the shareholders and management of Pentapart for placing their trust in us to support them in an advisory capacity during the acquisition. The M&A process was especially challenging due to the current situation. The goal of all parties involved was to find a successful solution for the company and its employees. This has been achieved.”