A bidding war for medical molder Balda AG reached a climax Jan. 29 as two companies faced off to acquire the German injection molding company — each one topping previous offers. In the end, Italy's Stevanato Group came out on top, paying 95 million euros ($1.03 billion).
Stevanato will now own all operating units of the Bad Oyenhausen, Germany-based Balda Group, including Balda C. Brewer Inc. and Balda Precision Inc., both in California. Balda also agreed to change the name to Clere AG.
Balda shareholders originally were to meet on Jan. 29 to discuss and vote on an offer from Stevanato of Piombino Dese, Italy, to buy the company for 80 million euros ($87.6 million). That offer had been a last-minute bid to best a standing offer of 74 million euros ($81 million) from Heitkamp & Thumann Group of Dusseldorf, Germany, which shareholders had previously planned to accept.
But as they gathered to discuss the 80 million euro offer, Balda Chairman Thomas van Aubel said that Heitkamp had stepped up with a new offer of 90 million euros ($97.9 million) with a reduced liability cap of 5.4 million euros ($5.8 million) on Balda's contractual warranties.
Then at noon, Stevanato in turn improved its offer to 95 million euros with a liability cap of 5.7 million euros ($6.2 million) for the contractual warranties. Balda's executive and supervisory boards reviewed the new Stevanato offer and recommended to the shareholder meeting that it was preferable to Heitkamp & Thumann's 90 million euro offer. A shareholder debate followed, before shareholders voted 98 percent in favor of accepting the Stevanato offer.
The shareholders also approved a change in the corporate purpose of Balda Group and to change its name to Clere AG after the sale of the operating units.
Christian Diemer, managing partner and CEO of Heitkamp & Thumann, said a statement: "We are obviously disappointed that the shareholders of Balda AG have revoked their decision [in December] to sell the business operations of the Balda Group to Heitkamp & Thumann Group. Nevertheless we wish the future owners of the companies good luck and much success.”
The operational units of the Balda Group, which mainly make injection molded components for the medical market, are: Balda Medical GmbH & Co. KG, based in Bad Oeynhausen, Germany; Balda Medical Systems SRL in Romania and the two California operations.
Stevanato makes insulin cartridges and glass primary packaging for the pharmaceutical sector, and has operations in Italy, Denmark, Slovakia, the U.S., Mexico and China.