Austria’s government holding company has appointed a 5-person investment committee as it prepares to invest in Austrian key companies as soon as next year.
Oesterreichische Beteiligungs AG, or OeBAG, was beefed up by the government last year to manage the state’s existing companies more actively and for the first time in decades to invest in new ones. Austria owns 23.6 billion euros ($26.3 billion) worth of stakes, ranging from oil and gas group OMV AG, to utility Verbund AG or unlisted real estate firm Bundesimmobiliengesellschaft.
“It’s likely that we can make our first investment in 2020,” OeBAG director Bernhard Perner said after the committee held its first meeting in Vienna on Monday. “We’re seeking investments of 100 million euros plus, but we also have the flexibility to fund much bigger transactions.”
The holding has pulled together a list of more than 100 companies that it considers “important for the country,” the rather broad definition they have to meet to qualify for an OeBAG minority equity or debt investment.
“We can now support these companies on their growth path or help them get protected from a hostile takeover if it’s negative for the company or the country,” Perner said, adding that OeBAG especially monitors car, manufacturing or technology companies.
Klemens Breuer of Bankhaus Lampe, Stefan Hamm of Tyrol Equity, Kari Jaervinen, founder of Finland’s Solidium fund, bank manager Michael Mendel and emerging markets investor Paal Raaum were appointed to the committee that has to assess and approve investment decisions under OeBAG’s new legal mandate.
OeBAG was formed in part as a response to takeovers of Austrian companies including gas engine maker Jenbacher that was sold to private equity company Advent International under the Innio name. Airplane supplier FACC is majority-owned by China’s AVIC Cabin System Co.