AURELIUS Equity Opportunities SE & Co. KGaA has fully repaid its 2015/20 convertible bond due on December 1, 2020 to the bondholders. “Our cash situation is still very good. Even after the repayment of 103.1 million euros, we have liquidity of more than 300 million euros in the group, ”explains AURELIUS CEO Matthias Täubl in an interview with the editorial team at Personal-Financial.com. Täubl adds: “Around 100 million euros of this liquidity is available in the holding companies and can be used for acquisitions and investments in our portfolio.” For the next few months, Täubl sees “a large number of interesting takeover candidates”. As a possibility of expanding the financing strategy, AURELIUS is also examining co-investment funds at group level, with which other groups of investors can be addressed under the umbrella of the AURELIUS Group.
Personal-Financial.com: The corona situation is worsening again, Germany is again entering a tough lockdown. How far could this set you back in the restructuring efforts of your portfolio companies?
Täubl: So far, our portfolio has shown itself to be robust in the course of the Corona crisis. This was also clearly shown in the first nine months of 2020, in which our portfolio companies were able to generate a very solid operating EBITDA of 100 million euros. More precise forecasts for the coming months are still difficult, especially in view of the worsening situation and lockdowns in various European countries. However, we have been successfully dealing with companies in special situations for 15 years and our operational experts now work very closely with our group companies. I therefore firmly assume that we will also master the months ahead well.
Personal-Financial.com: On December 1st, Aurelius repaid the convertible bond with a remaining volume of around 100 million euros. What is your current cash situation, taking into account the repayment of the bond?
Täubl: Our cash situation is still very good. Even after the repayment of 103.1 million euros for our convertible bond at the beginning of this month, we have liquidity of more than 300 million euros in the group. Adjusted for the repayment amount for the convertible bond, this roughly corresponds to the level at the end of the 2019 financial year.
Around 100 million euros of this liquidity is available in the holding companies and can be used for acquisitions and investments in our portfolio. So far, the corona-related cash requirement of our group companies was around 10 million euros, well below our fears at the beginning of the corona crisis in March 2020. I cannot rule out that new lockdowns and thus e.g. B. associated store closures will in individual cases lead to further liquidity requirements, but see us as very well positioned for this.
Personal-Financial.com: Do you have other financing options in mind? And what role could the prospective participation in co-investment funds play in the group?
Täubl: We see many opportunities for attractive new acquisitions in the current market environment. The ongoing Corona crisis will lead to further upheavals and special situations, corporations will sell below-average profitable and peripheral areas that do not belong to the core business. It is precisely in this business area that we have been successfully active for over 15 years. We are increasingly seeing a very attractive market segment for larger transactions and are constantly examining appropriate financing options. As a way of expanding our financing strategy, we are therefore also examining co-investments with funds to be set up under the umbrella of the AURELIUS Group, which can address other groups of investors.
Personal-Financial.com: A no-deal Brexit is currently emerging. What effects does this have on your UK holdings, does it have a significant negative impact on business? And how will you position yourself in the UK in the future?
Täubl: For our British group companies, we expect only limited adverse effects from Brexit – in whatever form it will be implemented. This is only partly due to the fact that they only do business within the UK, such as our fleet management subsidiary Rivus Fleet Solutions, which is doing exceptionally well. Companies such as Zentia (previously: Armstrong Ceilings Solutions), which export some of the ceiling systems produced in Great Britain, should be able to compensate for the possible effects of a no-deal Brexit with an expected weaker British pound.
The uncertainty associated with the ongoing Brexit discussion has continued to create a very interesting environment on the British market for acquiring companies in special situations, in which we want to remain active.
Personal-Financial.com: What is your current pipeline on the transaction side? The end of the year is usually characterized by high activity, is that also the case in 2020 or is the Corona environment thwarting your plans this year? What prospects can you give your investors for 2021?
Täubl: Corporations are sorting themselves according to the upheavals that the Corona crisis has caused. The M&A market is noticeably picking up speed. We see a large number of interesting takeover candidates over the next few months – our M&A department is therefore currently very active. In addition, we are constantly reviewing attractive acquisitions for our existing portfolio companies. I am looking forward to the new year with great confidence, not least because we also profit from good shopping!
Livestream on December 14th, 2020 from 6 p.m .:
With Hans-Werner Sinn, former President of the Ifo Institute: Corona and the miraculous increase in money in Europe
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