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Ima acquires a majority stake (63%) in Atop (E-Mobility) for EUR230 million

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Alberto Vacchi, IMA's Chairman and CEO

BOLOGNA, Italy – Charme Capital Partners (the pan-European mid-market private equity firm) has signed an agreement with IMA for the sale of 63% of ATOP, a leading company in the sector of automatic machines and lines for the production of electric motors for the automotive sector, and in particular for E-Mobility.

The transaction records an Enterprise Value of approximately 380 million Euro, which involves a disbursement for IMA of approximately 230 million Euro, to be paid at the closing scheduled for July 2019.

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Through this agreement IMA, already a shareholder of the company since 2017 with a 21% stake and Charme acting as controlling shareholder, acquires the majority of ATOP from Charme and reaches a total stake of 84%. At the same time, the founders and the Chairman Amedeo Felisa will reinvest for a 6% stake.

Founded in 1993 and headquartered in Barberino Val D’Elsa (Florence), ATOP has been acquired by Charme III in April 2017 and is today a global leader in the design and production of innovative machines and automatic lines for the high-growth market of electric traction for sustainable mobility (E-Mobility), where, thanks to the actions implemented by Charme, it expects to generate more than 50% of 2019 revenues.

The company is also active in the traditional automotive, household appliances and power tools sectors. ATOP operates with a consolidated proprietary know-how, combined with the continuous search for innovative technological solutions also developed in co-design with its customers, well diversified in more than 380 companies and represented by well-known and innovative industrial groups worldwide.

Under the active ownership of Charme, the company recorded a growth in revenues from 38,8 million Euro in 2017 to a forecast of 88 million Euro in 2019 (up 46% from 60 million in 2018), an EBITDA of 25 million Euro (up 59% from 15.8 million in 2018 and up 65% from 9.5 million in 2017), c. 250 employees (with more than 50 hires in the last 2 financial years).

Matteo di Montezemolo, Founder and CEO of the Charme Funds, declared:

“Since the establishment in 2003, the Charme Funds have been characterized by a deep entrepreneurial and industrial know-how, a strong business culture and the ability to select and invest in leading companies in their reference markets but with significant unexpressed potential, creating for the respective companies the best conditions for a structured and lasting international development. Consistent with this approach, and after the success of the investments of the last 15 years in Poltrona Frau Group, Octo Telematics, Bellco and most recently in Igenomix, the Charme III investment in ATOP in 2017 took place with the goal of transforming an Italian champion in traditional automotive supply into one of the world leaders in the most innovative and high-growth sector such as E-Mobility, leveraging on Atop’s ability to innovate matured over more than 30 years, which has led Atop to hold over 500 patents today, combined with an ambitious investment plan in research and development and a strong expansion of the industrial and production base in continuity with the excellent work already performed by the company Founders.

Following a first phase of profound and extraordinary transformation of ATOP, which has led the company to double revenues in only 2 years and has created the basis for a lasting and sustainable development in the E-Mobility sector, we are pleased that ATOP can continue in its growth path under the IMA Group. We are also particularly proud of having maintained such a significant Italian technological and innovation heritage under the control of one of the most beautiful and dynamic Italian entrepreneurial realities led by a top-level management team under the leadership of Alberto Vacchi.”

Commenting on the transaction, Alberto Vacchi, Chairman and CEO of IMA, stated:

“The growth and evolution of IMA in the markets of the future continues. Our position as a leader in relevant markets such as pharmaceuticals and food, combined with a solid presence in the world of tobacco at the service of innovations for lower impact smoking, is now enriched thanks to the credible entry of IMA into a fourth strategic segment represented by E-Mobility, which is today one of the fastest growing markets worldwide, with the production of over 50 million electric or hybrid cars expected in 2030.

Alberto Vacchi concluded:

“I would therefore like to thank the Charme Fund for the work performed in ATOP, in such a short time and at all company levels, which was instrumental in allowing ATOP to achieve credibility and a strong leadership in the E-Mobility market. I am also particularly pleased with the success of the operating model developed with the Charme Fund (well-known for its entrepreneurial and not financially driven DNA) in this interesting industrial transaction by combining our solid entrepreneurial approach with the Charme Fund’s ability to identify and develop companies with significant growth potential. Also thanks to the fundamental contribution of Mr. Felisa, with a career of over 40 years in the automotive industry, involved by Charme in 2017 to lead ATOP with the goal of exploiting the extraordinary work of the founders, who will remain our partners together with Felisa.”

Amedeo Felisa, Chairman of ATOP, declared:

“This operation is of great satisfaction for ATOP. Together with the entire management team of ATOP, we are particularly grateful to the Charme Fund, which has always actively supported us in the development of the company and which has made available the fundamental resources and guaranteed the strategic support to achieve the extraordinary growth and leadership that today the company has achieved in the international E-Mobility market, also creating the basis for solid growth over the long term through this transaction with IMA. In fact, we believe that by integrating into the IMA Group we will be able to accelerate a long-established collaboration, which will allow us to achieve the goals of rapid growth that we are realizing, thanks to an effective support of our technological effort and our increasingly widespread presence in international markets. Personally, I will remain in the forefront of strategic management, ensuring continuity, also as a shareholder of the company together with the founders, to lead ATOP to achieve the ambitious goals that we have set.”

Luciano Santandrea, founder of ATOP, declared:

“After 50 years of activity in the sector, of which over 25 as founder of ATOP, I believe that this operation is for our company and for myself the best realization of an entrepreneurial path to which I have dedicated a lifetime of work. In 2017, I realized that ATOP needed a discontinuity in the shareholding base that would have allowed it to quickly establish itself as leader in the E-Mobility sector and I identified the Charme Fund as the ideal majority partner, given its track record in growing the companies in which it invests with competence and credibility. After two years, I can confirm the full correctness of this choice and, also on behalf of the other co-founders, I am personally grateful to the Charme Fund for the competence and professionalism applied to the management of ATOP that surprised to us for the extraordinary results achieved in a very short term in such a competitive market. I am sure that the acquisition of control by IMA represents the best continuity operation for the long-term interest of ATOP and its extraordinary resources.”