DBAG finally exits 39-year-old deal

The German listed firm has sold automotive dealership Dr. Vogler, its longest-held investment

Listed German mid-market private equity firm Deutsche Beteiligungs (DBAG) has exited its longest-held investment, automotive dealership Dr. Vogler, which has been in the firm’s portfolio for 39 years.

The family-run Senger Group, one of Germany’s ten largest automotive dealerships, has acquired shares held by DBAG, one of DBAG’s managed funds and descendants of the dealership’s founding family.

DBAG did not disclose the financial terms of the deal, but said it had “regularly received distributions from its investment in the company” over the decades and that the divestment will “generate additional proceeds… in the low seven digits during the current fourth quarter of its 2013/2014 financial year”. Dr. Vogler posted revenues of €135 million in 2013, DBAG said.

DBAG did not respond to a request for further comment at press time.

Deutsche Beteiligungsgesellschaft (DBG), a predecessor of DBAG, invested one million Deutschmarks to acquire an interest as a silent partner in what was then Dr. Werner Vogler in 1975, following a first generational change at the dealership. DBG later acquired an additional interest.

Most recently DBAG has had a 51 percent share in the company, while its managed fund has had a share of just over 18 percent, according to DBAG.

Dr. Vogler operates eight locations in the greater Rhine-Main area specialising in Mercedes-Benz vehicles. These locations will continue to operate under the Dr. Vogler name, and Senger will retain all 370 staff employed by the company.

Senger, which has a staff of almost 1,500 and runs 30 operational facilities at 24 locations, generated revenues of €630 million in 2013 through sales of new and used cars, vans and trucks, repairs and maintenance and through acting as a service partner to manufacturers of truck superstructures. The Dr. Vogler facilities in the Taunus and Wetterau regions will form Senger’s southern area of operations. Senger intends to continue to grow in southern Germany, with its next acquisition being in the state of Hesse.

Torsten Grede, spokesman of DBAG’s board of management, said Senger’s “size and economic strength” will allow it to help Dr. Vogler develop further.

“New sales channels and growing competition are changing the automotive trade, a scenario in which a company’s size and market position are becoming increasingly important for its economic performance,” Grede said.

In mid-June DBAG successfully sold its 20 percent stake in mechanical engineering company Homag Group after 17 years of ownership, netting the firm a 2.5x return.

DBAG’s latest managed fund, the 2012-vintage DBAG Fund VI, closed on €700 million, above its target of €650 million, according to Private Equity International’s Research and Analytics division.