On 03 March 2023, Apleona Group, one of the leading integrated facility management (FM) companies in Europe, with headquarters in Neu-Isenburg near Frankfurt (Main), signed a merger agreement with the Berlin-based Gegenbauer Group. In terms of German facility service companies with the highest revenues, Gegenbauer currently ranks fifth. The majority of its operations are based in Germany, as well as some activities in Poland, Luxembourg and Turkey. With 18'000 employees, the Gegenbauer Group generates a turnover of almost €900 million. Half of this is accounted for by technical FM services, while infrastructural services such as maintenance and industrial cleaning are responsible for the other half. Following approval under cartel legislation, all assets will be transferred to the Apleona Group.
Emergence of an efficient real estate services group
As a result of the merger, Apleona will become an integrated real estate services company employing more than 40'000 people across Europe and with an annual turnover of around €3.5 billion. Numbered amongst its clients are renowned industrial undertakings, financial institutions and investors in institutional real estate. The service supply portfolio comprises the entire range of technical, commercial and infrastructural services for commercial real estate in all asset classes.
«Following this deal, Apleona will be even better placed in the future when it comes to in-house service depth and geographical coverage, particularly with regard to infrastructure-related services, the quality of which is something for which Gegenbauer is renowned in Germany,» explained the CEO of Apleona, Dr. Jochen Keysberg. «Increasingly, our customers are searching for the professional outsourcing of integrated real estate services, the bundling of ever-increasing service packages – including cross-border ones – as well as digital solutions and products related to energy conservation and decarbonisation in existing buildings, a trend that is only coming into sharper focus as a result of the ongoing energy crisis. The merger between Apleona and Gegenbauer fits this trend perfectly,» said Dr. Jochen Keysberg, who is convinced of this.
Further growth planned
He also announced that Apleona will continue to grow «strongly and sustainably in an organic manner». The prerequisite for this is the resolute continuation of a path already trodden in terms of the ongoing professionalisation and digitisation of internal structures and processes, as well as the way in which services are provided. «Together with Gegenbauer, we will be even better at managing associated investments in personnel and expertise as part of a bigger and more efficient Apleona,» he concluded.
Werner Gegenbauer, a shareholder in Gegenbauer, welcomed the merger of the two companies, calling it the ideal solution for the future of Gegenbauer, as well as for its 18,000 employees, since the business models, market orientation and customer markets all complemented each other extremely well. Furthermore, the corporate cultures at Gegenbauer and Apleona were a very good fit with each other: «Quality in terms of service provision, a high affinity for innovation and digitalisation, together with a definite commitment to service and professionalism are facets that characterise both Gegenbauer and Apleona,» he emphasised. «It is for this reason that I’m sure Gegenbauer's employees will be convinced about the advantages delivered by this new, joint company, as they also become part of a long-term success story. And the very reason for this is because they are able to contribute a large amount of expertise and knowledge based on nearly 100 years of company history,» explained Werner Gegenbauer.
Gegenbauer shareholders will remain investing – PAI will remain the majority shareholder
As part of the merger, all previous shareholders in the Gegenbauer Group will become shareholders of Apleona. The majority shareholder in Apleona will remain the private equity firm PAI Partners, even once the merger has been completed. Ralph Heuwing, Partner and Head of DACH at PAI Partners had the following to say on the news: «The merger with Gegenbauer will further strengthen Apleona's position in the market and the course of their growth. In the future, Apleona will be regarded as one of the strongest and most visible brands in what is still a hugely fragmented European FM market. Apleona will continue to play an active role regarding further consolidation, together with support from PAI.»
The transaction remains subject to approval by the cartel authorities, with the expectation it will be concluded in the summer of 2023. All of the companies will continue to operate under the Apleona umbrella brand after the merger.