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Equistone sells OASE Group to Argand Partners

30 Oct 2017

Funds managed by Equistone Partners Europe Limited ("Equistone"), one of Europe’s leading mid-market private equity investors, have sold their majority share in the OASE Group (“OASE” or “the Group”). OASE, the leading international specialist for water gardens, indoor aquatics and fountain technology, is being acquired by the US private equity firm Argand Partners (“Argand”), with management acquiring a share in the company as part of the transaction. The financial terms of the deal are undisclosed.

The OASE Group is headquartered in the Westphalian town of Hörstel in Germany and has a global footprint with production sites in Germany, Italy, the UK, the Netherlands and China. Equistone acquired a majority share in the Group in June 2011. Over the course of Equistone's investment, the company, which was founded in 1949, has continuously expanded. Revenue increased from approximately EUR 100 million in 2011 to around EUR 150 million in 2017, with profit also growing during this period. OASE currently employs around 750 people worldwide.

Equistone supported OASE’s organic growth and further helped the Group expand through a targeted, international buy-and-build strategy. In 2013, OASE acquired EDEN, an Italian manufacturer of high-quality products for indoor aquatics and water gardens. In March 2014, the Group acquired Geo Global Partners, a Florida-based company and leading provider of innovative products for water gardens in North America. In early 2016, OASE expanded its portfolio with the acquisition of biOrb, a brand with a strong position in the design-focused premium segment of the indoor aquatics market. These acquisitions have enabled OASE to penetrate into new market segments, as well as expanding the Group’s geographic footprint.

OASE operates in two business areas. As a global specialist for water gardens and indoor aquatics, the Group distributes its offering to private customers (B2C) through specialist distributors, garden centres and the DIY sector. OASE aligns its own e-commerce activities with its distribution partners. Its core products include pumps, filters and other accessories for private garden ponds, swimming ponds and aquariums. The Group also markets its fountain technology and lake management solutions to commercial customers (B2B) and has implemented numerous spectacular installations such as the "Crane Dance" project in Singapore, the "Dancing Fountains" at the World Towers in Mumbai (India) and the multi-media fountain installation in front of the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).

Michael H. Bork, Managing Director and Senior Partner at Equistone, commented: "Working with OASE’s employees and management over the past six years, we have enabled the Group to evolve into a strong brand and a leader of innovation and quality in its market. The acquisitions in Italy, the US and the UK, together with the expansion into the North American market and penetration into new business areas, such as irrigation and drainage pumps and indoor aquatics, were all key milestones in the OASE Group's successful journey to becoming a global player. We firmly believe that the new owners of OASE will propel the Group's expansion strategy into the next phase."

Ansgar Paul, Chairman of the OASE Group, added: "Equistone's experience in securing international growth for its investments, together with its support for the strategic expansion of our product portfolio and the acquisition of companies and brands, has been a huge help for us. We have been able to successfully grow the company through our collaboration with Equistone and would like to thank the firm for its role in this great partnership".

Michael H. Bork and Stefan Maser were responsible for the transaction at Equistone. Equistone was advised by Baird (M&A), P+P (legal), KPMG (financial) and PwC (commercial).

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