* Buys Johnson Screens from Weatherford International
* CFO says purchase price close to 100 mln eur
* Purchase prices represents 8-9 times EBITA
* Johnson has 1,200 employees, annual output of 160 mln
* Bilfinger Shares rise 2.1 pct, outperform midcap index
By Peter Dinkloh
FRANKFURT, Jan 18 German group Bilfinger
, which has shifted to servicing industrial plants from
construction, will buy water technology company Johnson Screens
for around 100 million euros ($134 million) to access customers
in the United States and Australia.
Finance chief Joachim Mueller did not give the exact price
of the transaction but said it represented 8-9 times earnings
before interest, taxes and amortization (EBITA) of the company.
Johnson Screens, owned by Weatherford International,
had sales including revenue from minority partners of 160
million euros in 2011, compared with Bilfinger's 8.5 billion
euros, Bilfinger said on Friday.
"An attractive acquisition from our point of view," DZ Bank
analyst Marc Nettelbeck said. "We appreciate Bilfinger's
step-by-step M&A approach and therefore our rating remains
Bilfinger, which traces its roots to a bridge builder
founded in 1883, has been reducing its more risky construction
operations in favour of maintaining, modernising and operating
buildings, industrial plants and power stations.
It has not turned itself into a fully-fledged plant maker,
but rather cleans and maintains them to avoid responsibility for
the completion and functioning of a whole facility.
Bilfinger is using acquisitions to help meet its target of
doubling net income to 400 million euros in 2016 and raising
earnings before interest, taxes and amortisation (EBITA) to 700
The takeover of Minnesota-based Johnson Screens allows
Bilfinger to double output in the water and waste water sector
to 300 million euros while maintaining a single-digit EBITA
margin, Bilfinger said.
Bilfinger appears to have paid slightly more for Johnson
than it was comfortable with judging by comments last year from
chief executive Roland Koch who said he would be reluctant to
pay more than 6-8 times a target company's EBITA.
Bilfinger, which claims it has become the leading specialist
for components for water and waste water with the takeover,
started expanding that division by buying the filter division of
Italian manufacturer Diemme in 2011.
The company now has about 850 million euros left for
acquisitions, Koch said.
Bilfinger shares were up 2.1 percent to 74.76 euros at 1448
GMT, outperforming a 0.6 percent increase for the MDAX index
of mid-sized stocks traded in Frankfurt. Weatherford
International advanced 1.4 percent.