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Stahl’s owners are happy to have held onto the company

Between its acquisition of Clariant’s leather business in 2013 and its proposed acquisition of BASF’s leather business now, Stahl itself was up for sale. Its majority shareholder, Paris-based investment firm Wendel, stated publicly two years ago that it was willing to listen to offers.

Chief executive, Huub van Beijeren, says now that, in 2015, Stahl was still in the process of integrating Clariant’s leather division, acquired in 2013, into the business and that this may have prevented potential buyers from seeing “the true value” of Stahl’s business.

He added: “I can tell you that there are people who were interested in buying Stahl at the time who are now very sorry that their attempts to purchase us did not go through. And I can tell you that both our management team and Wendel are very happy that a sale did not happen then.”

Mr van Beijeren described Wendel as “fantastic owners” and said he would love the majority shareholder to maintain its investment in Stahl (it will have a 63% stake in Stahl after the BASF acquisition goes through in the fourth quarter of 2017) for another ten years. “But I think it’s obvious that Wendel will want to get value from its investment in Stahl and that, at a certain moment, it will seek to do that by selling the company or floating it on the stock exchange. That’s logical, and there’s nothing wrong with it.”

He insisted that he frequently tells the people who work for Stahl not to worry about who the company’s owners are. “If we continue to present the figures we are presenting at the moment, everyone will want to own us,” he said.

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