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Post published on 25/05/2017

IMA, in partnership with the Charme Fund, has completed the acquisition of the majority of ATOP

IMA, in partnership with the Charme Fund, has completed the acquisition of the majority of ATOP, a world leader in automation for the production of electric motors for various industrial and automotive applications, including e-mobility.

IMA today announces the acquisition of a minority stake in ATOP S.p.A., in partnership with the Charme III private equity fund, that will act as majority shareholder.

Founded in 1993 and headquartered in Barberino Val d’Elsa (Florence), ATOP is among the world’s leading companies in the production of innovative machines and automatic lines for the production of stators and rotors for electric motors. Thanks to its own long-standing know-how, combined with a continuous search for innovative technological solutions, ATOP operates in the field of electric drives for sustainable mobility (e-mobility) with hybrid and plug-in electric drive motors, as well as in the automotive sector, household appliances and power tools.

Over the past three years, ATOP has recorded growth rates of more than 10%, closing 2016 with revenues of about Euro 48 million and over 180 employees. With the support of IMA and Charme as long-term strategic investors, ATOP plans to continue its path of global development, which focuses on expanding its international customer base and on further strengthening its core competencies of industrial automation, as well as on investing in research and development aimed at introducing continuous innovations in the field of electric drives for sustainable mobility.

The acquisition of ATOP was carried out by Charme III, a pan-European private equity fund that is highly industry-oriented with committed capital in excess of Euro 500 million and offices in Milan, London and Madrid, in partnership with IMA, world leader in the design and manufacture of automatic machines for the processing and packaging of pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, food, tea and coffee. Charme and IMA have acquired an 84% stake in ATOP through a special purpose vehicle controlled by Charme III, while the founders of ATOP (Luciano Santandrea, Massimo Ponzio and Fabrizio Cresti) have re-invested in a 16% share of the capital.

For IMA, this acquisition represents an important opportunity to further strengthen its presence in the field of automatic machines for the automotive sector, in which IMA already operates through its automation business, with particular reference to the market for hybrid and plug-in electric drive motors.

The transaction involves for IMA an investment of Euro 15.8 million for a 25% stake in the SPV controlled by Charme III.

Matteo Cordero di Montezemolo, Founder and CEO of the Charme Funds, commented: “ATOP is the first transaction for Charme III in Italy and it represents an extraordinary investment opportunity in a global leader in a strongly innovative and high growth sector, with unique proprietary know-how and a first class management team. These are the distinctive elements that always characterise Charme Funds’ investment strategy and are the basis of the support that, thanks to IMA and our investors, we will give to ATOP to achieve its ambitious plans for international growth.

Alberto Vacchi, Chairman and CEO of IMA, commented: “I am very satisfied with this first acquisition together with the Charme Funds, with which we intend to establish a long-term investment partnership based on a unique combination of industrial, strategic and international development expertise. With this deal, which was completed with the involvement of the company’s management, IMA now has a chance to gain an important point of observation of the automation business in a reference market, that of hybrid and plug-in electric motors used in the automotive business, which is currently booming and  with a strong growth potential. Thanks to the experience that IMA has gained in this sector through the automation business during the course of 2016, it will be able to contribute to the industrial development of this important enterprise in a growth path that is linked to the development projects of the major car manufacturers and OEMs worldwide. Once again, IMA’s decisions address strategic sectors of the global market, where quality and innovation are the basis for success. We believe in the future of the electric car, in the same way that in recent years we have believed in the decisions of those who have invested in the production of cigarettes with a low impact on human health.”

Luciano Santandrea, Founder of ATOP, said: “Along with Massimo Ponzio and Fabrizio Cresti we are enthusiastic about our partnership with two international investors of primary standing with whom we have decided to reinvest in ATOP. Charme is a fund that has always brought to its investments a great deal of industrial know-how combined with a strong business culture. IMA is a leading global industrial business that operates in the automation sector. Together they are ideal partners to enable ATOP to grow and strengthen to take advantage of the extraordinary e-mobility market development opportunities envisaged worldwide.”