Kontron acquires majority stake in Katek SE and expands leading position in the IoT market

  • 59.4% of shares acquired from KATEK’s majority shareholder PRIMEPULSE
  • High-growth areas of photovoltaics and eMobility Smart Charging complement Kontron’s product portfolio
  • Upgrading Katek products with Kontron’s IoT technology and software will increase Katek’s gross margin by 5% in the medium term
  • Share buyback programme ends
  • Guidance for the 2024 business year: Group revenue to grow to over EUR 1.9 billion and net profit to around EUR 100 million

 

Linz, 18 January 2024 – Kontron AG today agreed to acquire around 60% of the shares in the listed company KATEK SE. The buyer is the wholly owned German subsidiary Kontron Acquisition GmbH, which is acquiring the shares from the previous Katek majority shareholder PRIMEPULSE SE. The purchase price per share is EUR 15.00 for a total of 8,587,138 shares. Subject to conditions precedent (antitrust law), the transaction is expected to be completed by March 2024. Kontron expects the acquisition to significantly strengthen its own portfolio of renewable “green” energy solutions and the aerospace segment.

Katek – a pioneer in technology for renewable energy

The Katek Group is a leading European electronics company that offers high-quality electronics and products in the fields of solar energy and e-mobility. With more than 3,200 employees, Katek generated estimated revenue of more than EUR 750 million in the 2023 financial year and has locations in Europe, Asia, and North America. Control electronics for photovoltaic systems and the rapidly growing area of intelligent charging solutions for electric vehicles are an important part of the product range. Along with its subsidiaries, Katek is one of the pioneers in renewable energy technology.

Expanding the high-quality portfolio with a focus on IoT and software

The aim of the acquisition is to expand Kontron’s portfolio with smart solutions for renewable energies and other industries. To achieve this, Katek’s products are set to be upgraded with Kontron’s software expertise and IoT connectivity. This is expected to improve Katek’s gross margin by around 5% in the medium term. Based on the Kontron operating system (K-OS), the products will become much more secure, they will have firewall functionality and the capability to connect to complex grids, and can also be maintained remotely. The aim is to bring Katek solutions into the IoT world as quickly as possible. Additional synergy effects should arise both from the complementary product portfolios and the global market coverage. The merger expands Kontron’s “Software + Solutions” segment to include the future-oriented “GreenTec” division.

Hannes Niederhauser, CEO of Kontron AG: “With the acquisition of Katek SE, we are expanding our presence in the high-growth area of Clean Energy Solutions in a targeted manner and also strengthening the Aerospace division at Kontron with the Katek subsidiary NexTek. The clean energy sector holds considerable potential for the future. Upgrading with Kontron software will increase gross margins by around 5% in the medium term, thereby increasing profitability at Katek as well”.

 

Mandatory offer planned

The completion of the share purchase agreement is still subject to conditions precedent, in particular the issuance of the necessary antitrust approvals, and is expected by March 2024. After completing the acquisition of the shares and gaining control over Katek SE, Kontron Acquisition GmbH will publish a mandatory offer to the shareholders of Katek SE in accordance with the provisions of the Securities Acquisition and Takeover Act.

After obtaining control, Kontron Acquisition GmbH aims to delist Katek SE from the regulated market of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, whereby it plans to simultaneously structure the mandatory offer as a delisting acquisition offer. Kontron Acquisition GmbH is currently working with Bafin (Federal Financial Supervisory Authority) to verify whether treasury shares of the listed Kontron AG, which were acquired through previous share buyback programmes, can also be offered as a voluntary alternative consideration as part of the offer. Following a delisting, it is planned that the Management Board and Supervisory Board of Katek will step down. It is also planned that Dr Johannes Fues, currently a member of the Management Board of Katek SE, will join the Executive Board of Kontron as Chief Operating Officer (COO) with responsibility for GreenTec.

 

Share buyback programme ends

With the announcement of the planned takeover, the Executive Board of Kontron AG has decided to terminate the share buyback programme II 2023. Since 2 October 2023, a total of 1,783,841 shares have been acquired by the company.

 

Guidance for 2024 and 2025 revised upwards

The planned acquisition of Katek marks the final stage for the time being of Kontron’s M&A strategy announced in 2022 following the sale of the IT division. After closing four acquisitions in 2023, this announcement is the largest transaction in the company’s history and is expected to contribute significantly to the Group’s growth and the expansion of its position as a leading IoT provider.

Assuming timely approval by the relevant authorities, Kontron is therefore raising the Group’s outlook for the full year 2024. Including the acquired Katek business, consolidated revenue of at least EUR 1.9 billion (depending on the date of consolidation) and net profit of around EUR 100 million are now expected.

Hannes Niederhauser: “The acquisition of Katek is a real gamechanger for Kontron. It takes us into a new dimension in every respect. With approx. 8,000 employees and cumulative estimated revenue of around EUR 1.9 billion, Kontron now has a new size in the market. Added to this is the expertise gained in the promising market of renewable energy.

And so, at the start of the year, we can already raise our recently issued guidance for the 2024 business year. With the increased technological upgrade of Katek products, we expect Kontron’s net earnings to increase significantly in the medium term.”

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