Berlin, Munich Germany joins the Bavarian arms supplier Hensoldt with a blocking minority of 25.1 percent. The Federal Ministry of Defense put the purchase price for the share package at 450 million euros on Wednesday evening. The federal government takes over the share from the US financial investor KKRthat the previous AirbusDaughter in 2016 and floated on the stock exchange in September.
The Federal Government justified the entry mainly with the importance of Hensoldt for the Bundeswehr. “Ensuring the key security and defense technologies are of particular national interest,” the communication said. The federal government had already recorded this in a strategy paper in February.
Hensoldt specializes in sensors and encryption technology. The company from Taufkirchen near Munich builds radar systems for the Eurofighter, high-tech cameras for Tornado aircraft and tank periscopes, among other things.
The price for the package corresponds to 17.07 euros per share. That is a premium of more than a third on the stock exchange price of the Hensoldt share before the plans became known before the weekend. Since then, the share has risen to EUR 14.90. However, the sum is well below the 600 million euros that the federal government had negotiated with KKR as the maximum price before the IPO. Before that, Germany had secured its influence on the company with a kind of “golden share”, which became obsolete with the IPO.
KKR had given the federal government an option to take over the Hensoldt shares, which would have expired at the end of the year. The financial investor, who paid a good 1.1 billion euros to Airbus four years ago, is reducing its stake in Hensoldt to around 43 from 68 percent.
Foreign influence on Hensoldt should be prevented
The budget committee waved the entry through on Wednesday without a major debate, it was said in the circles of participants. The federal government wants to prevent unwanted foreign influence on Hensoldt with the blocking minority. According to analysts, the company could otherwise have become a takeover candidate – above all through the French arms company Thales. The Ministry of Defense also justified the commitment with the “role of Germany as a cooperation and alliance partner in Europe”.
The company history of Hensoldt goes back more than 125 years: In 1892 the optician Moritz Hensoldt built telescopic sights for the rifles of the Prussian army. Today the group employs around 4,400 people and generates billions in sales. One of Hensoldt’s most promising future projects is its participation in equipping the new Franco-German fighter jet, which cost billions of euros and is by far the largest European armaments project at present.
More: Hensoldt shares started cautiously at the issue price of twelve euros