AXA takes over Flex Group

The private equity arm of French insurer AXA has bought Flex Group from GSO Capital Partners.

French buyout firm AXA Private Equity has acquired a majority stake in FLEX Group, a German hand-held power tools manufacturer, from US group GSO Capital Partners for an undisclosed sum.

AXA’s management team, led by Joerg Hempfing, will acquire the rest of the shares along with Josef Kring, who has been brought in by AXA as part of the deal. Kring will run the company alongside Hempfing for a transitional period, before taking sole charge in 2008.

Flex’s tools are used primarily in metal-working, stone-working, masonry and concrete. The company is active in the European market and wants to expand its activities in the United States, where it recently set up a sales arm.

Flex, which was part of the Black & Decker Group before its acquisition by GSO in November 2005, employs 230 people and had a turnover of around € 60 million ($80 million) last year. AXA expects to grow its sales organically by 10 per cent per year.

AXA Private Equity manages and advises private equity funds with assets in excess of €10 billion.