Carlyle buys Germany’s AZ for €338m

Carlyle Group, the Washington DC-based global private equity firm, has completed the €338m buyout of AZ Electronic Materials of Germany and drafted in a new management team.

AZ Electronic Materials (AZ), a German supplier of electronic materials to the semiconductor and flat panel display sectors, has been acquired by private equity firm Carlyle Group in a deal worth €338 million ($418 million). The vendor was Clariant, the Swiss speciality chemicals group.  

Coinciding with the buyout, Carlyle has appointed a new senior management team and board at AZ. Thomas von Krannichfeldt will join in November 2004 after spending 30 years in senior industrial positions at Praxair, Union Carbide and Mobil Oil. He was formerly executive vice president of the Praxair Surface Technologies and Praxair Electronics divisions at Praxair Inc.

Ken Greatbatch has been appointed chief financial officer at the firm, having formerly been chief financial officer of BTP and Vantico. He has 16 years’ experience in the chemicals industry.

Joining von Krannichfeldt and Greatbatch on the board of AZ are three Carlyle Group executives: Robert Easton, Zeina Mansour and Gregor Bohm. A new line-up of non-executive directors comprises: Sir Denys Henderson, former chairman of ICI; Steve Hannam, former chief executive of BTP; and Bob Coxon, a former senior vice president of ICI and Werner Interthal as well as former global head of AZ.

“The deep industry expertise of the board will be of great support as we seek to grow sales and expand the business,” said Robert Easton, managing director of Carlyle Group.    

Based in Wiesbaden, AZ has research and development and manufacturing sites in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Germany, France and the US, and a global sales team. It has approximately 800 employees and posted revenues of €291 million in 2003.

Carlyle has invested in three other companies in the semiconductor and electronic materials sector: Jazz Semiconductor, Ness and CPU Technology.

In August, Carlyle sold its stake in Honsel International Technologies – which it acquired in Germany’s first ever public-to-private transaction in 1999 – to Ripplewood Holdings of the US.