Alantra advises CF Group on the acquisition of Dutch Starline Group



Jul 2022
Buy-side advisory

Frankfurt – Alantra, the global investment banking firm and asset management specialist, has advised German Chemoform AG (“CF Group”) on the acquisition of Starline Group B.V. (“Starline” or “The Company”), Benelux and UK specialist for pools, pool covers, and water treatment equipment, from its private majority shareholder.

Founded in 1974 and headquartered in Valkenswaard, the Netherlands, Starline achieved a turnover of €46 million in 2021, with a growth of more than 130% over the last five years. The company is a one-stop shop for higher-class leisure pools and pool covers in Europe, mainly in Benelux and the UK. Starline is active through eight brands, operates five manufacturing and assembly sites across the Netherlands, Belgium, and the United Kingdom.

CF Group was founded in 2019 through an alliance between two family-owned industrial companies with shared values and complementary expertise: Chemoform and Fija. CF Group is one of the leaders in the manufacturing and distributing of equipment and consumables (water treatment) for private and public swimming pools. Operating in more than 40 countries with 15 brands and 12 dedicated production and logistics sites, CF Group achieved a turnover of more than €300 millions and plans to continue its international growth while maintaining a local presence and strong proximity to historical customers.

CF Group and Starline Group expect significant synergies through sourcing, cross-selling, and efficiency improvements. With over half of its revenue coming from the pool cover segment, Starline offers strong business synergies with CF Group, which will strengthen the Group’s leadership in this segment and consolidate its position in the Belgian, Dutch and UK markets. Starline Group’s CEO, Victor de Vries, will re-invest into the company and participate in the envisaged synergetic growth path.

According to market data, private swimming pools are enjoying a steady increase in popularity throughout Europe. In Germany, 20,000 new pools are estimated to be installed every year, and this figure grows to more than 100,000 for France, European’s largest market. Research conducted as part of the transaction predicts annual growth of 2% to 4% for the UK, Germany, and Benelux countries. A return to the backyard during the pandemic caused demand to surge by around 30% to 50% for the new installation of pools and accessories and for renovations and water treatment systems for existing pools. Processing this order backlog will take throughout 2022. According to experts, the demand is expected to continue in the coming years, albeit at a slightly reduced level.

Cedrik Mayer-Klenk, CEO of Chemoform AG, commented: “CF Group is very enthusiastic about this acquisition, which immediately boosts our turnover by more than 12% and will support the growth of our strategic business activities in the coming years. The integration of Starline’s industrial tools and complementary expertise will be an asset in consolidating our positions in dynamic markets. Alantra and its cross-border team have been extremely supportive throughout this important strategic step for CF Group and achieved an excellent result for us.”

Dr. Sven Harmsen, Managing Director at Alantra, added: “It was a pleasure to work with the CF Group team to make a significant step in their strategic development and to help them win in a competitive auction process. The successful assignment for CF Group continues a series of leading M&A mandates in the trend sector home & garden, which includes the sale of OIKOS to Goldman Sachs, and the sale of Klafs to Egeria. In all of these cases, our ability to combine our sector, M&A, and financing expertise helped to achieve outstanding results.”

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