INVEST EQUITY sells Powerlines Group to Gilde Buy Out Fund

Vienna — Even during a time of challenging and turbulent financial markets, Gilde Buy Out Fund, a leading pan-European private equity investor from the Netherlands , was able to acquire the majority of the Powerlines Group as a result of a conservative financing structure. Since 2006, Powerlines Group has been able to expand rapidly due to international expansion and acquisitions. Gilde will actively support the Powerlines Group during its next steps of expansion.

Since the initial investment of INVEST EQUITY in June 2006, Powerlines – as a prime contractor for the planning, installation and maintenance of catenary systems, conductor rails, transmission lines and cable systems as well as telecommunications infrastructure – has developed exceptionally well. Sales increased more than three-fold from € 36.4 million in 2006 to over € 124 million in 2008. In the last two years, the average number of employees more than doubled to 784.

The Powerlines Group has undergone rapid growth primarily as a result of two factors: First, the Company acquired the catenary line construction business from Siemens Germany at the end of 2006. As a result of the successful integration of this acquisition, the Company achieved a critical size allowing it to begin its broader international expansion strategy. Second, Powerlines has been able to enter and develop new markets growing its revenues, profits and employees throughout Europe.

Today, Powerlines is one of Europe's leading providers for the construction and expansion of power engineering infrastructure facilities and anticipates further growth through market consolidation as well as the geographical expansion of the business.
Alongside Gilde as the majority shareholder, management will remain a significant shareholder in the business. The parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price. The acquisition is still subject to the approval by the relevant competition authorities.

Rudolf Schütz, Powerlines: Together with Gilde, the Powerlines Group will significantly expand its European footprint. Since 2006, management in cooperation with INVEST EQUITY have created the Company, which is now recognized as a leading independent player in Europe. In Gilde we have found a new partner with ambition, know-how as well as financial power to realize the next steps of expansion.

Ralph M. Wyss, Gilde Buy Out Partners: We welcome the Powerlines Group in the Gilde organization. With this acquisition, Gilde enters the promising market for the installation and maintenance of power engineering infrastructure, which is considered to be relatively independent of economic cycles. In the coming years Gilde will primarily support the geographic growth in northern and eastern Europe.

Günter Lessig, INVEST EQUITY: Accompanying Powerlines over its two-year course of international expansion has been an interesting and, ultimately, very successful task. Moreover, working together with a dedicated, experienced and very professional management has been a very satisfying experience. Through its historic performance, Powerlines is well positioned to take the next strategically important steps in the European market.

About INVEST EQUITY

INVEST EQUITY is an independent private equity management firm founded in 1998 which is based in Vienna and Prague. It has since become a leading player in the Austrian market with excellent connections across Europe. INVEST EQUITY´s focus is on mid-market companies in the vibrant part of the enlarged European Union in and around Austria. Currently, INVEST EQUITY has three funds under management and has raised funds from national and international investors amounting to more than Euro 110 million. Over the last several months INVEST EQUITY has realized three exits among others Leobersdorfer Maschinenfabrik (high pressure piston compressors), Kolbe-Coloco (advertising material) and Chemson (chemical additives for PVC and glass industry).

About Gilde Buy Out Partners:

The Gilde Buy-Out Fund is managed by Gilde Buy Out Partners (www.gilde.com), a leading private equity investor from the Netherlands, specialized in buy-out investments in Continental Europe. With offices in Utrecht, Paris and Zurich, Gilde manages a total fund volume exceeding € 1,5 billion and has invested in more than 250 companies since it was founded in 1982.

For additional information, please contact:

Rudolf Schütz
CEO
Powerlines GmbH
Siemensstrasse 92
A- 1210 Vienna
Tel.: +43 (1) 2580080-0
Web: www.powerlines-group.com

Ralph M. Wyss
Managing Director
Gilde Buy Out Partners AG
Holbeinstrasse 31
CH- 8008 Zurich
Tel: + 41 43 268 20 30
Web: www.gilde.com

Thomas Jud
Partner
INVEST EQUITY
Wächtergasse 1
A-1010 Vienna
Tel: +43 (1) 532 05 51 - 15
Web: www.investequity.at