Bathroom fitter Grohe considers future sale plan

Michael Bow
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EUROPE’S largest bathroom outfitter Grohe has attracted a handful of bids from companies wanting to takeover the business despite tentative plans to float the firm on the stock market.

The German giant, led by former Vodafone executive and City grandee David Haines, attracted three bids from rival bathroom outfitters and two more bids from private equity firms, it emerged yesterday.

But the bids are thought to be lower than the €4bn (£3.34bn) price tag, which could spark a float of the group in a bid to sell the company for more money.

Haines, who also sits on the board of Imperial Tobacco, hinted an initial public offering was being considered when he reported results for the company two weeks ago.

“We can always rely on the support of our owners,” he said. “Together, we continue to assess all strategic options available to us in order to fully exploit our company’s growth potential.”

Grohe engineers high end plumbing fixtures like bathroom taps which cost up to £1,000 each. Its design studio in Dusseldorf is led by British design guru Paul Flowers.

A €3bn to €4bn price tag would make any sale one of Europe’s biggest private equity deals this year.

The original acquisition of the group a decade ago – by current owners TPG Capital and the buyout arm of Credit Suisse – sparked controversy after the chairman of Germany’s Social Democratic described the firms as “locusts”, a slur both deny.

Since then, however, the company has gone from strength to strength and posted sales growth of five per cent for the first half of this year, up to €730m earlier this month.