Argos Wityu invests in the world market leader of inflatable floating waterparks, Wibit Sports
The independent pan-European investment company Argo Wityu is investing in Wibit Sports GmbH (Wibit), the world market leader of inflatable floating waterparks based in Bocholt, Germany. Wibit produces floating waterparks made from inflatable PVC modules, which are used in open waters off the coast and lakes as well as outdoor and indoor pools as a leisure attraction in over 90 countries. It is the unchallenged market leader in this self-established industry. With Argo Wityu as a strategic partner, the company wants to accelerate its international growth and further expand and diversify its successful business model. The two company founders will continue in their co-CEOs positions and will remain in close ties with the company long-term. The transaction is expected to close in early November.
Wibit was founded in 1996 by two soccer players, Romann Rademacher and Robert Cirjak, who met while playing for the German soccer club MSV Duisburg. With 36 employees, the company generates annual sales in the lower two-digit million range. To date, around 600 parks have been installed in over 90 countries, including holiday destinations such as Dubai, Croatia and Cancún in Mexico. Wibit works together with an international network that meanwhile comprises 16 distribution partners. Locations in Germany include Timmendorfer Strand, the public beach at Xantener Südsee, the Camp David Sport Resort in Leipzig and numerous outdoor pools. The largest waterparks already installed have a capacity of up to 500 people. Since the company’s founding, the waterparks have attracted an estimated 30 million users.
As a pioneer in the field of floating waterparks worldwide, Wibit has extensive expertise in this industry and is renowned for its high product quality and safety. All products comply with the high international safety requirements (EN ISO 25649) and are regularly inspected by Germany’s TÜV. The extraordinary success of Wibit’s business model is built on the innovativeness of its products and the attractive business model for operators. For instance, Wibit has its own inhouse R&D department, which is constantly developing new modules and the company today holds more than 200 patents. This product variety, customized coloration according to customer specifications and high-quality production clearly distinguish Wibit from inferior copies. At the same time, the systems have exceptionally short amortization periods and are therefore an attractive investment for customers such as beach concessionaires, hotels, wake park operators and resorts. Wibit offers operators a complete package that includes installation by Wibit-trained technicians as well as comprehensive consulting for optimal operation and long-term maintenance of the park.
Focus on accelerated internationalization and organic growth – continuity in top management
With the development of its first modular waterparks in 2008, Wibit’s growth momentum picked up significantly. From Wibit’s position as market leader, the founders now want to use this dynamic growth to further advance the internationalization of the company and to expand the business model through organic growth and a targeted diversification. To achieve this, they sought a long-term oriented entrepreneurial partner to support Wibit with growth capital, an international network and extensive experience in the development of management and sales structures. In a tight reigned and selective process, the choice was made in favor of Argos Wityu – not least because the company has an unusually large international network for its market segment and proven expertise in supporting the growth scenarios of companies.
At the same time, this step is characterized by continuity: The founders continue to lead the company as co-CEOs and will remain in close ties with the company long term. Together the partners want to drive forward the growth of Wibit by strengthening and expanding the team as well as all relevant operational structures, expanding the company’s presence in Asia and Europe, opening up new geographic markets and enabling the expansion of the business model into new product categories and complementary services.
Robert Cirjak and Romann Rademacher, co-CEOs and founders of Wibit Sports, said: “The strategic partnership with Argos Wityu is a major step forward in the further development of our company. Wibit wants to become bolder, better and bigger than it is today. We combine sportsmanship with an entrepreneurial passion and are ready now to move up from the Bundesliga to the Champions League. Together with Argos Wityu, we want to seize the growth opportunities before us. Now we can realize many projects for which we need additional financial, personnel and organizational capacities. We are convinced that with Argos Wityu we have a strong strategic partner at our side –the team’s expertise and extensive international experience have impressed us deeply.”
Frank Hermann, partner and director of the DACH region at Argos Wityu, said: “Wibit’s extremely successful business model and the entrepreneurial personalities of Romann Rademacher and Robert Cirjak stood out right from the outset. Today the company already has a strong international presence, but the potential for further growth is still far from being fully exploited in light of the huge number of holiday and leisure destinations. Moreover, the founders identified additional interesting growth areas for the diversification of the business model to supplement their core product, thus enhancing the attractiveness for customers and users. This mix of internationalization and tapping new business areas characterizes many of our investments. We are excited about jointly implementing this with the Wibit team.”
Wibit Sports has been advised on this transaction by CatCap (M&A), Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP (legal advice) and Steuerberatung Westerhoven (finances & taxes). Romann Rademacher and Robert Cirjak were responsible for the transaction at Wibit Sports. Argos Wityu has been advised by King & Wood Mallesons (legal advice), Maconda (market), MRH Trowe (insurance) and Rödl & Partner (financial). Frank Hermann (partner) and Fabian Söffge were responsible on behalf of Argos Wityu.
Source: Argos Wityu Press Release