About

We invest in European lower mid-market companies with ambitious growth strategies.

Founded in 2009, Columna Capital is an entrepreneurial investment firm with offices in London, Lugano (Switzerland) and Luxembourg. Led by four partners, the Columna team consists of an engaged group of professionals that actively support ambitious management teams and entrepreneurs to drive organic growth and execute on consolidation opportunities. Typically, we invest in profitable companies with revenue of €15-100 million. We are a long term partner and our success is based on our ability to identify unique opportunities with growth potential where we aim to at least double the size of the business over the investment period.

We invest in European lower mid-market companies with ambitious growth strategies.

Founded in 2009, Columna Capital is an entrepreneurial investment firm with offices in London, Lugano (Switzerland) and Luxembourg. Led by four partners, the Columna team consists of an engaged group of professionals that actively support ambitious management teams and entrepreneurs. We are a long term partner and our success is based on our ability to identify unique opportunities with growth potential where we aim to at least double the size of the business over the investment period.

Focus On Growth

We focus on accelerating the growth of the companies we buy through active support and provision of capital.

Concentrated

We are a high conviction investor in fewer companies allowing us to dedicate more time to management to actively support growth.

Flexibility

We aim to be flexible and provide relevant solutions to all stakeholders to unlock the potential of the underlying business.

Relationship Driven

We aim to build credibility and establish strong working relationships. Managers are often our best source of reference.

Origination

Our expanding network of relationships and open mind allow us to identify interesting opportunities where proper engagement makes all the difference.

Alignment

We are principals not agents and are fully aligned with all stakeholders through a meaningful co-investment in the companies we invest in.

Focus

Investment Focus

We are passionate about building great businesses and aim to partner with high quality management and entrepreneurs to deliver transformational growth. We are looking for the following key features:

  • €15-100 million revenue and trading profitably
  • Potential for expansion or consolidation in the domestic market or internationally
  • Differentiated market positioning with attractive product or service offering
  • Ambitious managers that believe in their business

Buy & Build

We only invest with an identified strategic growth plan and assist management to accelerate growth through:

Buy

Strategic acquisitions rapidly transform a company’s footprint. By consolidating verticals, adding new geographies, clients and/or expanding the service offering, businesses can rapidly scale and consolidate market share. Together with management, Columna has to date successfully completed over 60 add-on acquisitions in Europe, the US, Africa and APAC for its portfolio companies.

Build

We are close to our businesses and actively support organic growth. This can involve working with management on, among other things, corporate strategy and planning, assisting them in recruiting key talent, raising finance, winning new business, establishing financial reporting tools or evaluating important investment decisions in infrastructure & technology.

Sectors

Columna invests across sectors and has developed specific expertise in the following sectors:

Regions

Columna invests in continental Europe with a specific focus on attractive companies in the following target markets:

Austria

France

Italy

Spain

Switzerland

Map

Responsible investing

PRI - Principles for Responsible Investment

Columna’s core principles and investment approach underpin its commitment to responsible investment, and every member of the Columna team shares that commitment. Columna is a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment.

Columna recognises the importance of environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations and the role they play in long-term sustainable value creation. Columna seeks to consistently and effectively identify and manage ESG matters both in its own operations and those of its portfolio companies.

Columna's approach to responsible investing begins with the team itself. Columna is committed to employing individuals who share its values of honesty, integrity and transparency. The Columna team is guided by the Columna Responsible Investment Policy.

Columna’s due diligence process seeks to identify ESG risks prior to investing in companies and, if required, manage improvements to ESG practice post acquisition. Columna will not recommend any investment opportunities which conflict with its ESG values.

Immediately after the acquisition of a portfolio company, the Columna partners take board positions and actively engage with portfolio company management to further understand, manage and improve ESG performance. Columna expects its portfolio companies to act in strict adherence with applicable laws and required industry standards.

Columna will not make investments related to the following sectors: adult entertainment, gambling, tobacco, alcohol, arms manufacturing, testing on live beings, unsustainable wildlife exploitation, oil and gas prospecting, subprime lending and the provision of retirement or sheltered housing for the elderly.

Portfolio

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Team

News

Columna Capital (“Columna”) has completed a USD 83 million transaction to take full control of Datamars SA (“Datamars” or the “Company”) and fund the acquisition of ZeeTags, the global number 3 player in Livestock Identification (“LID”).

Headquartered in Lugano, Switzerland, Datamars is a market leading supplier of identification systems for animals (livestock, pets and other species) and industrial textiles. For over 25 years the Companyhas pioneered the development of both RFID technology and plastic visual tags for the identification of animals and textiles with its products sold in more than 60 countries. Datamars operates four major production facilities worldwide (Thailand, Italy, Slovakia and the USA) and currently has 600 employees.

Columna made its initial investment in Datamars in 2011 acquiring a significant minority interest through the secondary buy-out of two financial sponsors and the founder. In 2012,funds advised by Columna provided a majority of the equity required for the acquisition of Temple Tag, the number 2 player in the US LID market based in Temple (TX). The Temple Tag acquisition established Datamars as the global number 2 player in LID. Since 2011,Columna has supported management in completing two further strategic add-on acquisitions in LID: Demaplast (Italy) and Quicktag (UK).

The combination of ZeeTags and Datamars creates one of the strongest franchises in the sector. It combines the best products with state of the art manufacturing while operating with a truly global footprint and scale and the best teams to support a growing international client base. With combined sales of close to USD 100 million, the Company’s growth will continue to be driven by strong demand for its best-in-class identification products and the on-going professionalization of the industry and is further supported by a favourable legislative and regulatory environment.

Simultaneously with the ZeeTags acquisition, funds advised by Columna completed the secondary buy-out of all remaining Datamars’ shareholders, which included Iris Capital, Vinci Capital and Brampton.

Mike Gardner, President of ZeeTags, said: “We were striving to further increase our capacity to deliver high quality products in the shortest possible time to our clients and have found an ideal partner with highly complementary skills and markets. We are extremely excited to be able to serve more clients faster, with even better and more products in more markets around the world”.

Klaus Ackerstaff, CEO of Datamars, said: “We are looking forward to growing the business and serving our expanding client base with an extraordinary team of people around the world, with access to the best product portfolio and unmatched distributed manufacturing and fulfilment in all major markets. This new Company is changing the industry and clients can look forward to an even better product and service portfolio around the world”.

Rory Devlin, Managing Partner at Columna Capital, said: “We are excited by the opportunity of bringing together two of the leading brands in the animal identification industry. There is an excellent fit between ZeeTags and Datamars that will allow us to scale the business by creating a group approaching USD 100 million in revenues. We believe that simplifying the shareholder base will create clear and strong governance for Datamars going forward, resolving previous differences in shareholder interests. Datamars is set to continue its strong growth and we will continue to support Datamars’ exceptional management team and provide further capital for growth opportunities in the coming years”.

Contact

If you like what we do and are interested to work with us, please get in touch. We will respond.

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London

Columna Capital LLP
7 Cavendish Square
3rd Floor
London W1G 0PE

Columna Capital LLP
7 Cavendish Square, 3rd Floor, London W1G 0PE
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Switzerland

Columna Capital Switzerland SAGL
Via San Salvatore 10
6900 Lugano – Paradiso
Switzerland

Columna Capital Switzerland SAGL
Via San Salvatore 10, 6900 Lugano – Paradiso, Switzerland
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Luxembourg

Columna Capital Luxembourg S.à.r.l
2-8 Rue Julien Vesque
L-2668
Luxembourg

Columna Capital Luxembourg S.à.r.l
2-8 Rue Julien Vesque, L-2668, Luxembourg
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