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Rodenstock braced for AU$2.3 billion sale – report

Ophthalmic lens manufacturer Rodenstock could soon be under new ownership after reports its private equity owner is planning to sell the business in a potential €1.5 billion (AU$2.3 b) deal.  

The group, founded in 1877 with its headquarters in Munich, Germany, is being prepared for sale by its majority shareholder Compass Partners, which acquired its stake in the company in 2016, according to Reuters.

The international news agency, which has spoken to two people close to the matter, has reported that Compass is working with investment bank Jefferies on the divestiture and may send out initial information packs in coming weeks with an auction date as early as after Easter.

Rodenstock could reportedly be valued at €1.5-1.7 billion (AU$2.3-2.7 b), or more than 13 times its expected 2021 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of €115-130 million (AU$179-202 b).

It comes after Compass put its planned sale of Rodenstock on ice in May last year as it waited for market conditions to normalise after the impact of initial COVID lockdowns across the world, according to Merger Market.

In June, the company’s existing shareholders injected €75 million (AU$117 m) capital into the business after the pandemic led to a temporary sharp drop in sales.

This came after a record year for Rodenstock in 2019 when sales grew to €450 million (AU$701 m), up from €425 million (AU$662 m) in 2018.

Despite the 2020 slowdown, the business recovered faster than expected, with a strong focus on its high quality progressive lenses called Biometric Intelligent Glasses (B.I.G).

Rodenstock employs around 4,900 people globally and is represented with sales offices and distribution partners in more than 85 countries, with production plants at 14 locations in 13 countries.

According to Reuters, Rodenstock’s family owners sold the company to buyout fund Permira in 2003, who passed it on to Bridgepoint in 2006. Compass acquired a majority in Rodenstock in 2016 and two years later took full control.

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