Carlyle revisits German HR firm

The buyout giant’s European technology team is returning to invest in Personal & Informatik, a German provider of human resources software and consulting, having exited the company in 2007.

The Carlyle Group has acquired a minority stake in Personal & Informatik (P&I), a listed German provider of software and services to small- and medium-sized businesses. This is the second time the US private equity giant’s technology team has invested in P&I, having held a 66 percent stake between 2004 and 2007.

Carlyle has now acquired 24.9 percent of the company’s share capital for an undisclosed amount and has been granted options to acquire a further 4.44 percent once certain antitrust clearances have been obtained.

“We have been monitoring P&I closely since our exit and the company has continued to perform well, which has not been recognised in its share price development,” said co-head of Carlyle’s technology funds, Michael Wand, adding that having a strong single shareholder would help the business become a “major European HR software vendor”.

P&I: shares not reflecting growth

P&I, based in Wiesbaden, Germany, provides human resources software and consulting services to more than 3,000 direct customers, Carlyle said. The company, which is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, turned over €59 million in 2008 with pre-tax earnings of €13 million. It has a market cap of €132 million and its shares registered a marginal rise of 1.5 percent this morning on news of Carlyle’s acquisition.

During Carlyle’s first period of ownership, the business grew its headcount by 18 percent and achieved earnings growth of 185 percent over three years, the firm said.

Carlyle’s technology team was recently forced to reshuffle its senior management after the departure of David Fitzgerald, the head of Carlyle European Technology Partners (CETP), for health reasons. Fitzgerald was replaced in May by two co-heads: Michael Wand and Robert Easton.

CETP closed a €530 million fund for expansion capital investments in European technology businesses in November 2008.