In spring 2012, a groundbreaking entrepreneurial task began for us when, together with partners, we were able to take over Ferrostaal AG from MAN AG. This step became necessary due to a strategic realignment of MAN AG, which resulted in the internationally renowned company Ferrostaal being up for sale.
However, the first attempted sale to an Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund did not go as expected due to a high-profile compliance proceeding and had to be reversed. Despite these difficult conditions, we saw a unique opportunity for a financially attractive entry. Our challenge was to successfully implement a complex sales process and structure a purchase price in the low three-digit million range.
After the takeover, we were faced with the task of subjecting the company with its several thousand employees and an extensive network of international subsidiaries and affiliates to a comprehensive restructuring. This was necessary to take into account the fundamentally changed framework conditions as a result of the compliance procedure. Banks' confidence in the company had been lost, which meant that bank financing was no longer available. Some business areas were no longer viable, and due to the compliance requirements we had tightened, some important foreign markets could also no longer be safely served.
Nevertheless, it was possible to stabilise the company economically within a few years. This was achieved mainly through strategically sensible disposals of company shares, the formation of joint ventures and a few business closures. Of particular note was the highly successful sale of a significant industrial holding in the Caribbean and the successful sale of a business unit in the automotive sector. These and other transactions made the acquisition of Ferrostaal an extremely profitable investment whose entrepreneurial reorientation and continuation we are still actively supporting today.
Dr. John Benjamin Schroeder