Founded in 1968 and headquartered in Taunusstein, close to Wiesbaden, Germany, ET Global Exhibit Group (“ET Group”) is a leading service provider for corporate exhibitions at trade fairs, including the manufacturing of trade stalls, as well as for the planning and implementation of marketing and product placement activities.
ET Group supports around 2,000 client projects a year and has 500 employees across 11 production and logistics centres in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, North and Central America as well as Australia.
As a family business, the company faced the issue of carrying out a smooth business succession when its founder Heinz Soschinski decided it was time to hand over the business to his two sons a few years ago. Eventually, it was agreed that Patrick Soschinski would buy out his brother and become the sole shareholder. There was sponsor interest to co-invest with the new CEO or take a majority position. However, Soschinski decided to take a different approach and look for a debt-financed solution.
It was clear early on that such a solution would come with significant complexity. Apart from refinancing existing debt and providing liquidity to pay out his brother, Soschinski sought to acquire a Dubai-based competitor and to embark on a buy&build strategy to consolidate his market on an international basis. In 2018, the CEO was introduced to Pemberton as an organisation that could allow him to execute all of the above and connect him with capital in a different way.
Pemberton was willing and able to help and could provide the expertise needed to execute the complex transaction by providing both term debt as well as a committed acquisition facility to allow the company to expand its pan-European presence.
With the Pemberton financing of a three-figure-million amount in place, ET Group proceeded swiftly with its consolidation strategy and has pursued two acquisitions (one still in process as at December 2018) to expand the business.
“This deal demonstrates the role that Pemberton can play as a trusted, long-term partner to European borrowers”, says Jürgen Breuer, the head of Pemberton’s German operations. “At a critical stage in the company’s journey, Pemberton was the organisation that enabled the CEO to seize the opportunities to grow ET Group in a way that allowed him to gain and retain full ownership of his family business. Pemberton’s pedigree as a conservative, long-term financing partner backed primarily by large European insurance companies and pension funds was a significant factor in Soschinski’s decision to entrust Pemberton with the position as the sole financier of the business founded by his father.”
Pemberton gave the CEO the flexibility and finance solution to position ET Group as a consolidator in the market. In an environment where investors are also keen on their GPs to diversify part of their portfolios into non-sponsored deals, the ET Global Exhibit Group deal illustrates Pemberton’s strong European network and its leading German franchise’s ability to source non-sponsor deals.
“Consolidating the full ownership of my family’s business and setting the company onto a path of external growth, was both a complex and ambitious undertaking. This would have been almost impossible to organise with a traditional banking audience.
Pemberton’s approach to delivering the financing solution, combined significant depth of analysis in understanding my business with a fine grasp of my entrepreneurial endeavours.”
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