Bulgarian car battery manufacturer Monbat [BUL:MONB] said that the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and private equity firm CEECAT Capital have exited their combined ownership in the company.
The two shareholders disposed of their holdings via a management buyout (MBO) transaction with HoldCo Investment, which is indirectly owned by the six top managers of Monbat, Monbat said in a notification to the competition regulator filed with the Bulgarian Stock Exchange (BSE) on Tuesday.
EBRD and CEECAT Capital last week sold all their shares in the Netherlands-registered Prista HoldCo Cooperatief UA, representing a 20.78% stake in Monbat, to HoldCo Investment. The value of the transaction was not disclosed.
HoldCo Investment is indirectly owned by EKIP Monbat, which is an investment vehicle of Monbat CEO Victor Spiriev as well as senior executives Chavdar Danev, Petar Petrov, Petar Bozadjiev, Vildiras Kamenov and Bozhidar Nekeziev, according to records available from the registry agency.
"Since becoming a shareholder in Monbat alongside CEECAT Capital we have successfully supported management with our international experience, network and additional financing. We are confident that, following the management buyout, the company will continue the path of transparency and good governance, and will further strengthen its operations, by continuing to adhere to sustainability and being a leader in the circular economy," EBRD associate director Svetlin Pislenski said.
Monbat is now one of the top five manufacturers of lead-acid batteries in Europe, with the six managers involved in the expansion of the company's operations to Romania, Serbia, Italy, Germany and Tunisia.
"New challenges in the energy sector are likely to provide new good opportunities for the company to adapt successfully to the market environment," Spiriev said.
Prista HoldCo Cooperatief, the parent company of Bulgarian motor and industrial oils producer Prista Oil Holding, increased its interest in Monbat to 20.78% in 2016 by acquiring a further 5% of its share capital.
As at March 31, Prista Oil Holding was Monbat's top shareholder, with some 16.7 million shares corresponding to a 42.73% stake, the battery maker's latest interim financial statement shows. Prista Holdco Cooperatief held some 8.1 million shares in Monbat at the end of the first quarter.
Shares in Monbat, which has a market capitalisation of 214.5 million levs ($115.3 million/109.7 million euro), traded flat at 5.50 levs as at 1421 CEST on Wednesday on the BSE.
(1 euro = 1.95583 levs)