Pall Mall Capital Advises GEERS on Majority Stake Sale to AudioNova

Thursday, April 15, 2010 General News
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LONDON, April 14, 2010 /PRNewswire/ --

- Hearing Aid Market on Track For High Growth and Further Consolidation

- Pall Mall Capital Lead Adviser for the Sellers on the Transaction

GEERS Horakustik, a leading European hearing aid retailer, has completed the sale of a 75 per cent stake in its business to AudioNova International, the hearing aid retail

business owned by HAL Holding N.V. GEERS, a leading independent retailer in the hearing aid sector in Europe, currently owns more than 450 specialist stores.

Pall Mall Capital, the cross-border corporate finance specialist, acted as exclusive financial adviser to shareholders of GEERS Horakustik, in this highly complex cross-border transaction, involving six jurisdictions / markets (Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Poland, Hungary and Russia).

Since its establishment in Dortmund, Germany in 1951, GEERS has expanded domestically and internationally, and is now a leading retail brand in Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Hungary and Russia. As a result of this transaction, AudioNova's existing German operations trading under the name "Horgut" will be combined with GEERS' German operations. The combination will operate approximately 580 company owned stores, with annual sales of approximately EUR 130 million, and has ambitious growth targets. GEERS will become a dominant force in the fast growing hearing aid market.

The combined business will be led by Christian Geers as Chief Executive, and his family will retain a 25 per cent shareholding.

The European hearing aid market is growing at approximately 5 per cent per annum. The key drivers are demographic shifts such as an aging population and increasing hearing loss prevalence. According to research published by Professor Adrian Davis of the British MRC Institute of Hearing, the total number of Europeans suffering from hearing impairment is set to reach 90 million by 2015, and he estimates that more than 900 million people world-wide will suffer hearing loss by 2025. Additionally, changing patterns of behaviour, aided by innovation and design, is creating a strong demand for hearing aid products. The retailing of hearing aids is highly attractive. However, the market is highly fragmented with significant potential for consolidation.

The Pall Mall Capital team was led by its Chief Executive, John Cutts, together with Ulrich Wogart, Richard Speak, Craig Humphrey and Laura Boeck. John Cutts explained: "This complex cross-border transaction had to meet a number of challenging objectives, including ensuring that the GEERS' brand continues to flourish as a European leading retailer of hearing aids.

The success and reputation of GEERS attracted many potential suitors from across the globe. It was important for Pall Mall Capital to find a balance that enabled certain family members to exit whilst the third/next generation could remain invested alongside a strong strategic partner. HAL Holding and the AudioNova team saw off strong competition and demonstrated clear commitment to a partnership with the Geers family as well as to further rapid growth and profitability. It was a great honour to work alongside the Geers family and to ensure an orderly succession which is now well placed to take advantage of this growth/dynamic market."


This announcement is for information only and does not constitute an offer or invitation to acquire or dispose of any securities or investment advice in any jurisdiction.

Past performance is no guide to future performance and persons needing advice should consult an independent financial adviser.

The information contained in this announcement does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any security. Distribution of the information contained in this announcement, into or within jurisdictions other than the United Kingdom may be restricted by law and, therefore, persons into whose possession this announcement comes should inform themselves about and observe any such restrictions. Any failure to comply with any such restrictions may constitute a violation of the securities laws of the relevant jurisdiction.

Notes to Editor

Pall Mall Capital is a London-based specialist corporate finance advisory house well-versed in complex cross-border transactions. Innovative, tailor-made solutions are delivered by experienced and respected senior bankers globally through the Pall Mall Alliance, combining local market knowledge with funding from the London and international Capital Markets.

John W Cutts has led Pall Mall Capital since its acquisition in 2001. He was previously the Head of European Corporate Finance at the WestLB Group and former Executive Director of European Mergers & Acquisitions at Samuel Montagu & Co. Limited. The Non-Executive Chairman is George Loudon, previously Chairman and Chief Executive of Midland Montagu.

    Media Enquiries:

    John W Cutts, CEO, Pall Mall Capital
    Tel +44(0)20-7518-7300
    Mob +44(0)7836-678-917

    Richard Speak, Director, Pall Mall Capital
    Tel +44(0)20-7518-7323
    Mob +44(0)7775-802-313

    Charlie Jack / Claire Barry, Hudson Sandler
    Tel +44(0)207-710-8909 / 8940
    Email: /

SOURCE Pall Mall Capital

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