US firm acquires majority stake in Czech optics company for EUR 700 million

The US-based Carlyle Group has made previous acquisitions in Czechia as it looks to expand its portfolio.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 01.06.2023 11:00:00 (updated on 01.06.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

International investment fund Carlyle Group has confirmed in a press release the purchase of a majority stake in the Czech Meopta-optika (known simply as Meopta) company, which manufactures optical products for various uses. 

The U.S.-based investment first will take over Meopta – founded 90 years ago – for about CZK 16 billion. The transaction is subject to regulation and is expected to be completed this year.

Meopota produces optical and optoelectronic items for military, industrial, and consumer purposes. Some of the products that it manufactures are binoculars, enlargers, and film cameras.

“We believe Carlyle is an ideal partner for Meopta on the next stage of our journey, with its deep experience in our industry and track record in the growth and internationalization of leading European technology businesses”

Meopta CEO Alena Moore

Clearly expanding

The Meopta site, based in the Olomouc region, includes 140,000 square meters of production space and employs over 1,700 people. According to current majority Meopta shareholder Gerald Rausnitz, the firm has become a leader in optical, optomechanical, and optoelectronic solutions.  

In 2021, Meopta reported a record net profit of CZK 806.4 million – a year-on-year increase of almost 800 percent. Its total revenue that year was around CZK 3.7 billion; annual sales increased by CZK 1 billion crowns and were the highest in the company's history. Better sales were mainly due to increased global demand for optoelectronics and chips used in the semiconductor industry.

Photo via Přerov company Meopta-optika
Photo via Přerov company Meopta-optika

The managing director of the investment advisory team at Carlyle Friedel Drees said that Meopta “offers world-class expertise in the design, manufacture, assembly, and testing of optical components and systems," adding that it was "well-positioned to benefit from strong secular tailwinds.”

Carlyle's Czech movements

In Czechia, Carlyle owns the Phrase (formerly known as Memsource) start-up, which develops a cloud platform for automation and improves the efficiency of language translations. This deal was announced in 2020, when the company was labeled as one of the top 50 fastest-growing IT companies in Czechia.

In late 2022, Carlyle also announced its plans to acquire a majority stake in Czech firm Tescan, which produces electron microscopes and other high-tech scientific instruments, such as 4D scanning. Carlyle has an estimated USD 376 billion (over CZK 8.3 trillion) of assets under management and in 2022 was the world’s sixth-largest private equity firm raised by capital.

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