• Market leader in high-quality design lighting brings new investor on board
• Growth capital running well into the tens of millions
• Increased investments in brand presence, sales and marketing, and digitalisation
• Expansion of international business, especially in Switzerland, Benelux, Scandinavia and Southern Europe
Munich, 24 April 2017. Occhio GmbH, the German market leader in high-quality design lighting, kicks off a new phase of growth 18 years after its founding. In order to continue the company’s dynamic development in the years to come, Occhio founder Axel Meise has brought on board – for the first time – an entrepreneurial and financially strong partner in the form of the Munich and London-based private equity company EMH Partners. By means of a capital increase EMH Partners invests growth capital running well into the tens of millions and has thus acquired a minority share of 44 per cent. Axel and Susann Meise remain the majority shareholders in Occhio GmbH.
“We are among the fastest-growing companies in the lighting industry, but we are nowhere near having exhausted our potential yet,” says company founder and CEO Axel Meise. “With EMH Partners, we have gained a strong partner that does not just bring along capital, but also an entrepreneurial mindset, and will actively help us to continue expanding. We want to make the unique possibilities of lighting design that Occhio offers accessible to as many people as possible – because quality of light means quality of life.”
EMH Partners is a private equity firm that is run by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs and invests in fast-growing SMEs. The company is pursuing a long-term “build and scale” strategy and assists its portfolio companies above all with the internationalisation and digitalisation of the entire value chain.
“We are delighted that we will be able to contribute to writing the next chapters of Occhio’s success story,” says Maximilian Kuss, Managing Partner of EMH Partners. “With its strong brand, its consistent design concept and innovative lighting and control technology, Occhio is an exceptional case in the lighting industry. We will be assisting in the company’s expansion domestically and abroad, above all with our expertise in digitalisation.”
Occhio, which means “eye” in Italian, is founded on the idea of being able to offer a consistent lighting system for every environment. Its innovative lighting systems with their minimalist design, sophisticated lighting technology and unique control options can be configured individually, allowing for comprehensive lighting design at the highest level for entire buildings. New product lines and technical innovations once again expand Occhio’s portfolio and therefore its range of applications considerably.
During the previous financial year 2015/2016 (30 June), Occhio’s revenue increased by 11.6 % to EUR 29.1 million. For the current financial year a revenue in the range of EUR 34 to 35 million is targeted. European markets outside of Germany account for roughly 30 % of revenue. The company works in a way that ensures sustained profitability. There are currently 80 employees, although together with outsourced manufacturing and logistics, this figure runs to more than 200 employees.
Occhio primarily distributes its products via selected partners in specialised upscale retail who place a lot of value on consultation, lighting design and service, and invest in appropriately presenting the Occhio brand and its lighting systems within their retail spaces. The Occhio Group also operates flagship stores in Munich and Cologne. The company has its own project team for collaborations with architects, interior designers and building contractors.
As part of its partnership with EMH Partners, Occhio will expand its brand presence, continue increasing sales via selected partners, invest in complementing its product portfolio and continue to digitalise the value chain, while pushing ahead with internationalisation. So far, Occhio’s major international markets have been Austria, Belgium and Switzerland. Alongside Switzerland, the focus of its expansion will be on the Benelux countries, Scandinavia and Southern Europe. In the long term, the company aims to generate more than half of the Group’s sales outside of Germany.
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