Ambienta Acquires a Majority Stake in SF-Filter AG

Ambienta, the largest European private equity fund specialised in environmental businesses, today announced it has acquired a majority stake in SF-Filter AG, Zurich, a successful specialist for filter solutions with sales of about CHF 80 m.

SF-Filter is the leading partner for the distribution of mobile and industrial filters for a variety of applications. The product range encompasses filters for oil, air, fuel, hydraulic, gas, pneumatic, liquid, de-dusting, heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC)-related applications. With more than 30,000 European customers ranging from original equipment manufacturers to resellers as well as end-customers, the SF-Filter brand has been unanimously recognised as the leader in its field due to its broad filter assortment, competent technical and independent advice as well as 24h delivery times. SF-Filter operates Europe’s largest warehouse for filters in Switzerland, and additional sites in Germany, Austria, France and Poland. The product offering consists of both Independent and SF-Filters own-brand filters. In recent years, SF-Filter has also continuously updated its e-shop offering, along with on-site personal and technical assistance.

Modern filtration technology contributes substantially to the reduction of pollutant emission. Furthermore, the right filtration products reduce energy consumption, especially in the field of heating, ventilating and air conditioning or in hydraulic systems. Additionally, advanced filter systems help to prolong service intervals and equipment life-cycles, consequently allow for a reduction in the usage of environmentally harmful substances, such as lubricants or cooling agents. SF Filter’s technical advice and service is therefore an important contributor to a sustainable use of resources and a healthier environment.

Ambienta will support SF-Filter in its expansion’s strategy, particularly via add-on acquisitions in other European countries. Moreover, SF Filter plans to strengthen its workforce, especially in the field of distribution, marketing and sales in order to grow organically.

SF-Filter was founded in Zurich in 1968 and was taken over by Mr. Arthur Fritschi and Mr. Dirk van der Stroom in 1992. Jochen Zähringer, currently responsible for SF-Filter’s German operations, will be promoted to Group CEO. He will take on the responsibility of group-wide operations. Arthur Fritschi and Dirk van der Stroom, will remain engaged with the Company as shareholders, members of the board of directors, and managing directors.

 Arthur Fritschi, chairman of the board of directors and shareholder, commented:

“We are happy to have partnered with Ambienta as a trustworthy and experienced partner for our international growth ambitions. Ambienta shares our strategic targets and will support SF-Filter with advice and financial resources”.

Shareholder and managing director Dirk van der Stroom added:

“I am convinced that we have found a forward-looking partner, who shares our values and will support our future growth plans, while enabling SF-Filters to continue to operate as an independent company”.

 Jochen Zähringer said:

“First of all, I would like to thank Mr. Fritschi and  Mr. van der Stroom, as well as Ambienta for the trust they place in me. I am looking forward to further developing the economic as well as environmental benefits for our customers, together with our shareholders and the highly motivated and competent SF-Filter team.“

 Nino Tronchetti Provera, Managing Partner and Co–Founder of Ambienta commented:

“We are delighted to partner-up with SF-Filter and its management team. SF-Filter represents one of the largest investments in the history of our firm and already the third investment in the German speaking region over the last 12 months; with an aggregated enterprise value of about € 200m. A clear sign that our investment strategy of investing in sustainable businesses driven by long term environmental trends with an industrial approach can succeed in Europe’s most important economies. The fact that almost all of Ambienta’s 21 investments to date are in family or founder owned businesses underpins the recognition of our strategy among entrepreneurs.“

Nico Helling, Partner at Ambienta and responsible for investments in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, added:

“SF-Filter has achieved an impressive market-leading position in the European after-sales market for mobile and industrial filters, via a focused and clear strategic orientation. The product assortment as well as the technical expertise of SF-Filter contribute substantially to a sustainable usage of natural resources of our society. We are looking forward to working closely with SF-Filter and to supporting the SF-Team especially through add-on acquisitions”.