Heliad: Representative survey by infas about Private Equity

Heliad Equity Partners GmbH & Co. KGaA / Miscellaneous
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++ Representative survey by infas:
Majority of Germans polled believe that private equity investments make companies more successful – positive effects for medium-sized businesses    expected

A recent survey revealed that the vast majority of Germans believe that companies financed by private equity investments are more successful than their competitors. Moreover, most Germans are convinced that private equity investors enhance the competitive power of German medium-sized businesses in the international marketplace. A risk perceived by many of the polled individuals, however, is that companies may become dependent on the investors. These are the results of a representative survey about private equity investments among the German populace carries out by the infas institute for market research for the listed Heliad Equity Partners. 1,004 German citizens aged 18 and above were polled on the issue. Approximately two and a half years after the public debate about 'locusts', the survey now provides the first comprehensive picture of the public opinion on this issue.

58 percent of those polled assume private-equity financed companies to be more successful than their competitors. Only 35 percent expressed the opposite opinion. As many as 69 percent of all polled are convinced that private equity investment increase the competitive power of German medium-sized businesses in the international arena. Only 17 percent think that the bottom line would consist of a negative impact of private equity on German medium-sized businesses. On the issue of jobs, however, opinions differ. While 34 percent of the polled Germans expect private equity investments to add new jobs, a similarly large group of 36 percent believes them to be a threat to job security. Approximately 25 percent don’t believe either of these assumptions to be accurate.

Germans have a clear conception of the first measures taken after an involvement of private equity investors: 70 percent speculate that the first priorities on the agenda would be cost reductions. Asked what behavior on the part of private equity investors they would consider ideal, 74 percent expressed the desire that the investors should actively support the companies’ managements. 44 percent of the polled Germans currently perceive a good chance for German companies to benefit from the experience of private equity investors. A majority of even 55 percent consider the contacts and business relationships of private investors as a success potential, and 76 percent name the opportunity to invest with the finances provided by private equity investors as one of the positive effects of private equity investments.

On the other hand there are concerns about the possible danger of companies becoming too dependent on the investors (63 percent), and that the investors might try to influence the internal organization of the company (52 percent).

At its first mention in the survey, the term 'private equity' was unknown to most of those surveyed. Only 13 percent claim to be familiar with it. Individuals were then given a comprehensive and unbiased explanation of the term before the survey was continued. The familiarity with the term varies noticeably with the income and educational level of those surveyed. Individuals who are familiar with the term show a significantly more positive attitude towards private equity investors.
Ralf Fiore, CEO of Heliad, the company that commissioned the survey, said: 'In our line of business it is important not to become isolated from public opinion, but to have a clear and comprehensive image of it. This is what we achieved with our infas survey. We discovered a very positive attitude to this issue in the German populace, surprisingly so in light of the recent political discussions. However, the survey also showed some results that are less pleasing for our industry. While the vast majority of those polled credit private equity investors with strengthening the competitive power of German businesses, people also associate our measures predominantly with cost cutting, layoffs, and stripping of assets. However, the majority of Germans wants an investment style that is based on cooperation and consultation on the part of the private equity investors. Private equity partners like Heliad have been following this approach, and have done so successfully.

Alexander Mitsch, CFO, Heliad, adds: 'We, the whole industry, have yet to communicate the chances offered by private equity investments. After all, the survey clearly shows that the more Germans know about private equity, the more positive their attitude. The results of the infas survey confirm international studies in the same area. These, too, suggest that companies financed with the support of private equity investments are considerably more successful.'

The complete survey results and details are available upon request. Please contact heliad.

++ About Heliad

Heliad is a publicly listed investment company that focuses on companies in predominantly German-speaking countries that are undergoing a strong growth phase. Heliad invests into established, owner-run business models with sales of between 10 and 100 million Euro.

With this strategy Heliad has occupied a highly attractive niche between Venture Capital and large Buyouts. With around 3,750 employees, the current total of 14 companies within Heliad’s portfolio generate combined sales of more than Euro 370 million.

Further information about the company can be found at www.heliad.de.

Heliad Equity Partners GmbH & Co. KGaA

Alexander Mitsch
Chief Financial Officer
Tel.: +49 (0) 69 71 91 59 65 28
E-Mail: alexander.mitsch@heliad.de

16.10.2007  Financial News transmitted by DGAP

Language:     English
Issuer: Heliad Equity Partners GmbH & Co. KGaA               Grüneburgweg 18
              60322 Frankfurt am Main
Phone:        +49 (0)69 719 15 965 0
Fax:          +49(0)69 719 15 965 11
E-mail:       info@heliad.de
Internet:     www.heliad.de
ISIN:         DE0006047293
WKN:          604729
Listed: Geregelter Markt in Frankfurt (Prime Standard); Freiverkehr               in Berlin, München, Stuttgart
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