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April 5, 2018 | Press Release

HQ Equita sells MEN Gruppe to DBAG Fund VII advised by Deutsche Beteiligungs AG

Frankfurt, 5 April 2018. As part of a merger transaction with duagon Holding AG (“duagon“), HQ Equita agreed to sell MEN Gruppe (“MEN“), a leading provider of highly available computers and electronic components for demanding operational environments, to DBAG Fund VII which is advised by Deutsche Beteiligungs AG (“DBAG”).


MEN develops and produces fail-safe and durable computers and electronic assemblies for challenging environmental conditions. The components are used for data processing inside trains, aircrafts, in industrial plants or medical equipment. duagon Holding AG is a leading, independent provider of network components for data communication in rail vehicles.


Both MEN and duagon already hold leading competitive positions in their respective markets. While MEN’s computers ensure the flawless and reliable control of brakes, doors and other subsystems of rail vehicles and rail networks, duagon components enable for instance the communication of these systems with the central train network.


Hans Moock, Managing Director of HQ Equita, highlighted the business logic of the merger: “Due to duagon’s highly complementary technology and the two well-matched management teams, we believe the merger will create a leading technology provider for secure computing and communications solutions in the rail sector. Such a combined group is ideally positioned to benefit from the positive developments expected in the future in the field of railway electronics and other mission-critical markets, including medical technology, avionics, power & energy and special industrial applications.”


Under duagon’s and MEN’s joint expertise, new products and comprehensive solutions will be developed. The focus will be on automatic safety systems and technological trends, such as autonomous driving, which is also relevant for the rail industry.


Bernd Härtlein, current CEO of MEN and future CEO of the Computing business unit, added: “The merger of duagon and MEN is a major first step in creating a market leader in rail and market computing, wherever there is a need for highly reliable and secure solutions. In particular, I see great potential in duagon’s hardware-related software competence and its strong position with Asian customers.”


In addition to the integration and further development of the newly created group, MEN founder Manfred Schmitz will continue contributing his many years of experience to the company as a shareholder and as part of his administrative board activities.


Dr. Markus Dilger, current CEO of duagon and future CEO of the Communications business unit, commented: “We are pleased with the new perspectives that the merger of duagon and MEN opens up for both companies. For duagon, these include access to MEN’s hardware expertise, for example in terms of reliability standards, and to new markets, such as aerospace and medical applications.”


In 2013, HQ Equita acquired the majority of MEN from the managing partner Manfred Schmitz and two other founders. All three founders remained invested in MEN at the time. Additionally, the wider management team also participated in the transaction. Since the acquisition by HQ Equita, MEN has strengthened its presence particularly in the Asian market by establishing a local sales company in Shanghai. Among other things, the development of the pre-certified secure computer system, menCTS, was successfully completed and will form the basis for promising expansion approaches in the future. Overall, sales and project management were expanded and the management team was strengthened. The separation into the Retail & Public Transport (comprehensive solutions) and into the Embedded Electronics division (board-level products) has enhanced the product and market strategy and made them more flexible through extensive investments in modern production systems and IT. To take account of the growth that was achieved as a result, the existing production capacities were also expanded. Under HQ Equita, the number of employees grew by one third to around 300 today. Sales increased to 60 million euros in the same period.


The parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price nor any other details of the contractual arrangements. The transaction is subject to the approval of the relevant antitrust authorities.


duagon was supported with the transaction by the following advisors: Alantra (M&A), Roland Berger Strategy Consultants (CDD), KPMG (FDD), Latham & Watkins (legal, purchase contract), Marlborough Partners (financing) and ERM and Gleiss Lutz (ESG).


HQ Equita was supported by: GCA Altium (M&A), goetzpartners (CDD) Alvarez & Marsal (FDD) and Watson, Farley & Williams (legal, purchase contract, taxes).



MEN is one of Europe’s leading developers and producers of fail-safe computers and electronic assemblies. The electronics are used globally for safety and mission-critical functions in control and measurement technology, where reliability must be guaranteed even under challenging environmental conditions, such as high temperature fluctuations, dust, vibrations or humidity. Historically coming from the field of industrial automation, today’s main applications include mobile applications in the railway, public transport and aviation sectors. MEN also supplies medical technology, power generation as well as oil and gas production.


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