Financial investor Nordwind Capital takes over ISE Innomotive and ISE Industries

• Insolvency administrator Seagon was able to secure more than 2,200 jobs for both legally independent companies together
• Main locations in Bergneustadt, Witten and Duisburg as well as all locations of both companies are being retained
• Nordwind Capital wants to quickly restructure both companies and establish a sustainable profitable growth strategy

Bergneustadt, Witten, Duisburg, Germany, March 26, 2008 — NC Beteiligungsgesellschaft mbH, an one hundred percent subsidiary of Nordwind Capital Fünfte Industriebeteiligungen GmbH (Nordwind Capital), which is an independent private equity company based in Munich specializing in corporate restructuring, has concluded purchase agreements for the assets of Automotive Group ISE Innomotive (ISE Innomotive) based in Bergneustadt and Automotive Group ISE Industries (ISE Industries) from Witten and Duisburg. Corresponding agreements have been signed by the lawyer Christopher Seagon, insolvency administrator of ISE Innomotive and ISE Industries, and Nordwind Capital. This was announced by the company today. The transaction also includes the subsidiaries Automotive Group ISE Industries Hainichen GmbH and the foreign subsidiaries in the USA, South Africa, Hungary, Turkey, Poland and China. The share purchase agreements in particular are still awaiting approval from the corresponding boards and the anti-trust authorities. The contracting parties have agreed not to disclose the business conditions.

ISE Innomotive with locations in Bergneustadt, Drolshagen-Scheda, Meinerzhagen and Holzgerlingen and ISE Industries with locations in Witten and Duisburg currently has a workforce of around 2,380, and Nordwind Capital intends to retain more than 2,200 jobs. It is also intended that employees of ISE Innomotive who can not be retained will be prepared for new career opportunities by an employment and qualification company.

Nordwind Capital came out on top against many competitors in the regulated bidding process which had been running since the fall of last year. Christopher Seagon, insolvency administrator of ISE Innomotive and ISE Industries – both companies are legally independent – was able to secure continuity of business with the sales after continuation of the business operations lasting more than a year at all domestic locations accompanied by operational reorganization measures. “As well as agreement of appropriate business conditions, Nordwind Capital also clearly argued to keep all locations of the two ISE companies, presented a convincing concept for the future of ISE and reached agreement with the workers’ representatives and also with the customers of ISE. This is a good result for the creditors and also a solid basis for the future of the companies. The agreement which has now been made is therefore the best-possible solution for everyone involved,” explained Seagon.

For him the main reason for the sale was that the employees of ISE, despite the insolvency, “rolled up their sleeves and continued to work with high motivation”. This meant that everyone involved – in particular the customers of both automotive suppliers – were still convinced of the quality and competitiveness of the products. “The responsible people from Nordwind Capital also recognized this during their many factory tours and thus gained the necessary confidence,” Seagon continued.

He favored the sale of the two legally independent companies together to one investor from the start. “We had many inquiries from potential investors for both companies together because the synergies which both companies offer together are obvious,” said the insolvency administrator. The seller was advised during the entire sale process by the investment bank Metzler Corporate Finance.

At the contract signing, Anton Schneider, Managing Director and partner of Nordwind Capital, emphasized the importance of the qualification of the employees and the high technological standard at the locations for the future development of business: “Together with the dedicated employees we will quickly complete the necessary restructuring of the new ISE Group and put the company on a sustainable profitable sales growth strategy, both financially and operationally. Our primary goal is to clearly increase productivity at the locations.” For Nordwind Capital the current transaction is the second investment in a German automotive supplier and the third overall: in 2005 the financial investor took over Schwäbische Hüttenwerke, a leading automotive supplier for powertrain components and brake discs based in Aalen-Wasseralfingen.

ISE Innomotive
Automotive Group ISE Innomotive filed for insolvency proceedings on January 22, 2007 because of impending bankruptcy, and on April 1, 2007 the proceedings were instituted. In the temporary proceedings, insolvency administrator Christopher Seagon was able to agree to the continuation of business operations with key customers, banks and goods suppliers and come to an understanding on the first measures which were important for the future of the company. This means Seagon had achieved an important step towards ensuring the continued existence of the company and laid the foundation for the now concluded investor process. ISE Innomotive produces among others bodywork and chassis components and rollover protection systems for the automotive industry. In 2006 the company had annual sales of €331m. During the insolvency proceedings it was possible to generate the highest sales in the company’s history so far while at the same time clearly reducing the losses. The foreign companies of ISE Innomotive are not affected by the insolvency.

ISE Industries
Insolvency proceedings were also instituted on April 1, 2007 with the legally independent Automotive Group ISE Industries located in Witten and Duisburg. Here insolvency administrator Seagon was also able to reach an agreement with key customers, banks and goods suppliers during temporary proceedings to ensure the continuation of business operations and therefore set the course for the future of the company. At the Witten and Duisburg locations the company produces hinges, transmission parts and different tubular frame components for the automotive industry. In 2006 the company had annual sales of €117m. The foreign subsidiaries of ISE Industries and Automotive Group ISE Industries Hainichen GmbH are not affected by the insolvency.

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