Uniwheels for sale? Controlling shareholder assessing “strategic options”

Thursday 6th October 2016 | 0 Comments

Uniwheels’ latest plant in Poland may have a new majority owner should Uniwheels Holding opt to sell its 61.29% shareholding
Uniwheels’ latest plant in Poland may have a new majority owner should Uniwheels Holding opt to sell its 61.29% shareholding

A sharp dip in the Uniwheels AG share price was reversed on the afternoon of 4 October after the company informed the Warsaw Stock Exchange (WSE) about its controlling shareholder’s decision to “assess its strategic options.” Uniwheels Holding (Malta) Ltd., a holding company owned by former Uniwheels chief executive officer Ralf Schmid and his brother Michael, is currently “at an initial stage” with its assessment, reported the German alloy wheel manufacturer.

According to the document submitted to the WSE, Uniwheels Holding “does not exclude any scenario available.” Options Uniwheels Holding is considering include a potential partial or full reduction of its controlling 61.29 per cent stake in Uniwheels AG. The holding company has engaged an investment bank and legal advisors to assist in the assessment process.

The Uniwheels AG share price fell 9.6 per cent from PLN 215.10 at the start of trading on 4 October to PLN 194.80 by the end of the day; yesterday the share price rose to a high of PLN 207.70 before closing at PLN 200.50.

The company conducted an initial public offering on the WSE and debuted on its main market on 8 May 2015. Uniwheels received PLN 252.0 million gross from the issue of 2.4 million new shares. Shares reached PLN 111.30 on the first day of trading and remained relatively stable until the first quarter of 2016; since April, share value has increased by around one third.

Uniwheels AG produced nearly 8 million wheels in its factories in Germany and Poland last year. It newest facility, in Stalowa Wola, Poland, opened in June 2016; while its capacity will by the end of this year will be just 500,000 units, its potential annual capacity of 2 million wheels will provide Uniwheels with a total capacity of approximately 10 million wheels from 2017 onwards, and further growth has already been planned. The company’s ‘Group Strategy 2022’, presented last month, calls for total production capacity to rise to 14 million units a year. This 40 per cent increase will be achieved through the expansion of Uniwheels’ production plants, a broadening of the company’s customer base and an anticipated five per cent growth in market share for original equipment automotive products in Europe. Annual sales in excess of €700 million are targeted (some 60 per cent higher than the €436.5 million achieved in 2015), along with an EBIT margin of more than ten per cent (10.1 per cent in 2015) and EBITDA margin of over 15 per cent (13.4 per cent in 2015).

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