Conti Private Equity Acquisition Unlikely, Say DB Analysts
Shares in Continental AG have apparently declined again after rising by more than seven per cent on June 25, the result, say traders, of renewed market talk of interest in a private equity bid. The German financial newspaper named Boersen-Zeitung, Banco Santander SA, ING Groep NV and Deutsche Bank AG as the favoured contenders for bidding. The company has, however, declined to offer any information on the issue. “We don’t comment on speculation,” said Conti spokesman Hannes Boekhoff.
On June 27 Deutsche Bank’s Equity Research Automotive Group released a statement to the effect that it would be surprised if private equity funds took an interest in acquiring Continental. The group’s analysts commented that private equity funds most typically take an interest in funds that are under leveraged, poorly managed and undervalued – three factors that do not apply to Conti. “Overall, we doubt that private equity is interested to take over Continental,” the group stated.
Conti CEO Manfred Wennemer has previously said he would not oppose a private equity bid in principle, as long as the group’s strategy remained unaffected, its holdings were not broken up for sale and the company balance sheet retained the strength for it to continue to using cash to invest in growth.