Aurelius books 11x return on SECOP exit

The sale of the compressor maker to Japan's Nidec is the firm's largest-ever exit.

German turnaround investor Aurelius Equity Opportunities has earned a multiple of 11x capital invested on the €185 million sale of compressor provider SECOP to Japan’s Nidec Group, according to a statement from the firm

The exit of SECOP, which manufactures compressors for fridges and freezers, is the Germany-listed firm’s largest ever and comes after a seven-year hold period.

“As a global technology leader, SECOP is a perfect example of the successful strategic realignment of a group spin-off under Aurelius’ ownership. We are particularly proud that, in this transaction, we exceeded the average cash multiple achieved for past exits,” said Dirk Markus, chief executive of Aurelius.

The firm acquired the company in 2010 when it was the household compressor business of Denmark’s Danfoss Group. Under Aurelius’ ownership SECOP acquired Austrian compressor manufacturer ACC, its largest-ever add-on deal.

Aurelius has recently come under attack by New York hedge fund Gotham City Research, which alleged the firm’s share price was almost 90 percent over-valued and criticised the German turnround firm’s portfolio management and accounting practices.

Aurelius said Gotham’s allegations were financially motivated, noting that when Gotham made the allegations it “held a significant short position in shares of Aurelius and therefore had a personal interest in harming the reputation of Aurelius, thereby adversely affecting the share price and thus making a considerable gain in speculative profit to the detriment of all Aurelius shareholders. In fact, Gotham has now closed a large part of its short position and realised profits.”

Aurelius currently holds 24 portfolio companies and last year recorded a net asset value of €1.4 billion. 

As at 4:25pm on Tuesday Aurelius shares were trading up 11.22 percent at €47.05 per share, giving the firm a market capitalisation of €1.47 billion.