For half a year, prospective investors have been descending on the headquarters of Bilfinger, a struggling German construction and engineering firm based in the southwestern city of Mannheim. Private equity groups KKR and EQT of the U.S. and Sweden respectively, construction giants Vinci of France and Strabag of Austria, as well as international real estate brokerages CBRE and JLL, are all interested in Bilfinger’s lucrative facilities management division.
A decision will be made in the coming days, with JLL and EQT seen as the front runners. But it’s equally possible that the keen interest being shown in the business may persuade Bilfinger to hold on to its crown jewels and use the stable income it generates to restructure its plant engineering division.
The wrangling over the Bilfinger division – with 20,000 employees and €2.6 billion, or $2.9 billion, in revenue – shows how attractive facilities management has become.
Lünendonk, a market research and consultancy firm, estimates that the market volume for building services in Germany amounts to almost €50 billion.