History

of B&C Group

2001 - 2004

Acquisition of interests

Acquisition of an interest in Lenzing AG

In 2001, a 90.5% holding in Lenzing is acquired from Bank Austria in return for additional asset participation rights. As a result, the value of the B&C portfolio increases by 48% as at year-end 2001.

B&C also acquires the largest contiguous hunting and forestry estate in central Europe with its purchase of a majority interest in ALWA.

Purchase of additional 29% stake in Semperit AG Holding

The purchase of an additional 29% in Semperit AG Holding is concluded in 2003. B&C becomes Semperit’s majority shareholder with an interest of approximately 54%, further consolidating the industrial side of the portfolio.

The dissolution of the Gewista/Affichache joint venture with the JCDecaux Group marks B&C’s withdrawal from the outdoor advertising segment in 2003.

In 2004 B&C sells its AUA shares (a 7.59% stake) on the open market as an Austrian majority has already been secured through syndicates.

 

2006

Disposal of Center Communications System GmbH

Center Communications System GmbH is disposed of in 2006. As a result, the company is controlled by an Austrian strategic owner in the form of EFKON AG, which opens up new growth opportunities for Center Communications System.

2009 – 2010

Disposal of non-industrial investments

The disposal of non-industrial investments, smaller industrial holdings and other assets is prepared to service the loans taken out to finance the repurchase of participation rights.

Following this realignment of the portfolio strategy, B&C’s focus shifts to its major industrial interests Lenzing, Semperit and PORR.

Further non-strategic investments are divested in 2012, with the disposal of ALWA, the minority interests in Austria Email AG and OEWAG Schmuckhandels GmbH, the transfer of a 4.3% shareholding in Oesterreichische Nationalbank (OeNB) to the Republic of Austria, a management buyout at Hans Lurf GmbH, as well as the disposal of the former SAS Hotels including Palais Henckel von Donnersmark.

2012

Acquisition of an AMAG share packet

In spring 2012 the B&C Group acquires a block of shares amounting to a 29.9% interest in Upper Austria’s AMAG Austria Metall AG, adding another core industrial investment to its portfolio.

The shares in PORR AG managed until this point by the B&C Group are sold to the Austrian construction investment group Ortner-Strauss. This results in a long-term Austrian solution for PORR that includes construction and project management expertise.

 

April 2015

10 years of the Houska Prize

The Houska Prize, Austria’s largest private research prize, is presented for the tenth time in 2015. Since its introduction, around 430 research projects have been submitted for consideration and a total of almost EUR 3.8m has been paid out by the B&C Private Foundation. A unique commitment to research and innovation that boosts Austria’s standing as a business location.

Video review of the 2015 Houska Prize gala

2016

15th anniversary of B&C Private Foundation: Education Prize

To mark the 15th anniversary unthe B&C Private Foundation offered the Education Prize for innovative projects and teaching methods aimed at sharing research findings and invited Austrian education institutions for their submissions. A total of EUR 150,000 in prize money and funding was made available. Chosen from 113 entrants, the three winners shared a total of EUR 30,000. The B&C Private Foundation also supported the 20 best projects at Austrian educational institutions with a further EUR 120,000. The Education Prize awards were presented by the Minister of Education on 18 October 2016.

 

2017-2018

Unsuccessful attempt by third parties to gain influence and secure beneficiary rights from the B&C Private Foundation

This chapter in B&C’s history is concluded at the end of 2019 with a comprehensive termination agreement with UniCredit and UniCredit Bank Austria, in which UniCredit agrees to forego all beneficiary rights and transfers its final beneficiary status to the Commitment Privatstiftung, which was established by Austrian businessmen.

2000

Establishment of the B&C Private Foundation

B&C Private Foundation established, acquisition of core investments

The B&C Private Foundation was set up in 2000 by Bank Austria and Creditanstalt. Starting in 2000, the private foundation’s former investment holding company B&C Holding (the predecessor of B&C Industrieholding GmbH) acquired a series of core non-banking investments from the two founding entities. In return, the Bank Austria Group was granted asset participation rights, meaning that the majority of the B&C Group’s ongoing earnings and net asset value were assigned to it.

2005

Launch of the Houska Prize

B&C awards the Houska Prize for the first time in 2005. Through the prize, the B&C Private Foundation promotes business-related research projects as a mark of its admiration for the outstanding research conducted in Austria. The award is named after the auditor and tax consultant Wolfgang Houska, who was a member of the Management Board of the B&C Private Foundation from 2000 to 2005. Houska dies in 2005, just a few months before the first award ceremony is held. As a respected research accolade and financial incentive for researchers, the B&C Private Foundation’s research award is designed to improve the environment for innovation and research in Austria. Currently standing at EUR 500,000, it is the largest privately awarded research prize in Austria.

2008

Repurchase of participation rights

At the end of 2008, the B&C Private Foundation repurchases participation rights from UniCredit Bank Austria AG. At the same time, UniCredit foregoes its status as a B&C Private Foundation beneficiary, allowing the foundation to concentrate solely on pursuing its aims. The move also means that all investments are now fully owned by B&C. As a result, dividend payments will remain within the B&C Group and can be reinvested in achieving the foundation’s goals. The repurchase of participation rights gives B&C significantly more room for manoeuvre, and opens the door to structural and financial development opportunities.

The repurchase does not include the purely construction-related interest in PORR, and the asset participation rights remain with UniCredit Bank Austria AG until 2012.

 

2011

Lenzing re-IPO: end of the joint venture with Starwood

2011 brings the Lenzing re-IPO by way of a capital increase and the sale of Lenzing shares in a public offering from the B&C Group’s holdings. The B&C Group’s interest drops from 90.5% to around 67.6%.

End of the joint venture with Starwood

At the same time, the Imperial Hotels Austria AG joint venture with Starwood (involving the Hotel Imperial and Hotel Bristol in Vienna and the Goldener Hirsch in Salzburg) is dissolved and the Hotel Bristol is sold to long-standing Austrian hotelier Sacher.

The B&C Group uses some of the funds raised from these transactions to fully repay outstanding loans taken out to finance the repurchase of participating rights and in doing so extricates itself from an earnout obligation that had to be met on an ongoing basis and is now fully paid off.

 

2013-2014

Increase in AMAG interest

In 2013 the Group acquires a controlling interest in AMAG through its 40.9% stake in the company and by means of syndicates with fellow shareholders.

In 2014, the group increases its stake in AMAG Austria Metall AG once again, to 52.7%.

 

June 2015

Disposal of interest in Österreichische Lotterien

The B&C Group sells its 7.94% interest in Österreichische Lotterien GmbH (ÖLG) to Novomatic. B&C takes this step in line with its long-term portfolio strategy, so that it can maintain its focus on investing in Austrian industrial companies.

2017

Establishment of a general secretariat for funding activities

To help implement and drive forward measures to promote business in Austria in line with the purpose of the B&C Private Foundation, a general secretariat is created on 1 May 2017. It is headed by Mariella Schurz. As General Secretary, she acts as B&C Private Foundation’s representative when dealing with public bodies, institutions and the media. Working in partnership with the Foundation Board, she is also responsible for the strategic development of the foundation’s business promotion activities.

2019

Establishment of the MEGA Foundation for Education

In 2019 the B&C Private Foundation and the Berndorf Private Foundation establish the R2B MEGA Bildungs-Privatstiftung (MEGA Foundation for Education). This bundles both foundations’ resources and activities aimed at promoting education, enabling them to implement joint projects more quickly and efficiently. MEGA supports innovative education initiatives centred on the twin areas of equal opportunities and economic literacy/life skills. Its goal is to give children and teenagers the life skills they need to be self-reliant in adulthood. To help achieve its objectives, the MEGA Foundation for Education is endowed with an initial budget of more than EUR 5m. R2B MEGA Bildungs-Privatstiftung is a long-term beneficiary of the B&C Private Foundation.

2000

Establishment of the B&C Private Foundation

B&C Private Foundation established, acquisition of core investments

The B&C Private Foundation was set up in 2000 by Bank Austria and Creditanstalt. Starting in 2000, the private foundation’s former investment holding company B&C Holding (the predecessor of B&C Industrieholding GmbH) acquired a series of core non-banking investments from the two founding entities. In return, the Bank Austria Group was granted asset participation rights, meaning that the majority of the B&C Group’s ongoing earnings and net asset value were assigned to it.

2001 - 2004

Acquisition of interests

Acquisition of an interest in Lenzing AG

In 2001, a 90.5% holding in Lenzing is acquired from Bank Austria in return for additional asset participation rights. As a result, the value of the B&C portfolio increases by 48% as at year-end 2001.

B&C also acquires the largest contiguous hunting and forestry estate in central Europe with its purchase of a majority interest in ALWA.

Purchase of additional 29% stake in Semperit AG Holding

The purchase of an additional 29% in Semperit AG Holding is concluded in 2003. B&C becomes Semperit’s majority shareholder with an interest of approximately 54%, further consolidating the industrial side of the portfolio.

The dissolution of the Gewista/Affichache joint venture with the JCDecaux Group marks B&C’s withdrawal from the outdoor advertising segment in 2003.

In 2004 B&C sells its AUA shares (a 7.59% stake) on the open market as an Austrian majority has already been secured through syndicates.

 

2005

Launch of the Houska Prize

B&C awards the Houska Prize for the first time in 2005. Through the prize, the B&C Private Foundation promotes business-related research projects as a mark of its admiration for the outstanding research conducted in Austria. The award is named after the auditor and tax consultant Wolfgang Houska, who was a member of the Management Board of the B&C Private Foundation from 2000 to 2005. Houska dies in 2005, just a few months before the first award ceremony is held. As a respected research accolade and financial incentive for researchers, the B&C Private Foundation’s research award is designed to improve the environment for innovation and research in Austria. Currently standing at EUR 500,000, it is the largest privately awarded research prize in Austria.

2006

Disposal of Center Communications System GmbH

Center Communications System GmbH is disposed of in 2006. As a result, the company is controlled by an Austrian strategic owner in the form of EFKON AG, which opens up new growth opportunities for Center Communications System.

2008

Repurchase of participation rights

At the end of 2008, the B&C Private Foundation repurchases participation rights from UniCredit Bank Austria AG. At the same time, UniCredit foregoes its status as a B&C Private Foundation beneficiary, allowing the foundation to concentrate solely on pursuing its aims. The move also means that all investments are now fully owned by B&C. As a result, dividend payments will remain within the B&C Group and can be reinvested in achieving the foundation’s goals. The repurchase of participation rights gives B&C significantly more room for manoeuvre, and opens the door to structural and financial development opportunities.

The repurchase does not include the purely construction-related interest in PORR, and the asset participation rights remain with UniCredit Bank Austria AG until 2012.

 

2009 – 2010

Disposal of non-industrial investments

The disposal of non-industrial investments, smaller industrial holdings and other assets is prepared to service the loans taken out to finance the repurchase of participation rights.

Following this realignment of the portfolio strategy, B&C’s focus shifts to its major industrial interests Lenzing, Semperit and PORR.

Further non-strategic investments are divested in 2012, with the disposal of ALWA, the minority interests in Austria Email AG and OEWAG Schmuckhandels GmbH, the transfer of a 4.3% shareholding in Oesterreichische Nationalbank (OeNB) to the Republic of Austria, a management buyout at Hans Lurf GmbH, as well as the disposal of the former SAS Hotels including Palais Henckel von Donnersmark.

2011

Lenzing re-IPO: end of the joint venture with Starwood

2011 brings the Lenzing re-IPO by way of a capital increase and the sale of Lenzing shares in a public offering from the B&C Group’s holdings. The B&C Group’s interest drops from 90.5% to around 67.6%.

End of the joint venture with Starwood

At the same time, the Imperial Hotels Austria AG joint venture with Starwood (involving the Hotel Imperial and Hotel Bristol in Vienna and the Goldener Hirsch in Salzburg) is dissolved and the Hotel Bristol is sold to long-standing Austrian hotelier Sacher.

The B&C Group uses some of the funds raised from these transactions to fully repay outstanding loans taken out to finance the repurchase of participating rights and in doing so extricates itself from an earnout obligation that had to be met on an ongoing basis and is now fully paid off.

 

2012

Acquisition of an AMAG share packet

In spring 2012 the B&C Group acquires a block of shares amounting to a 29.9% interest in Upper Austria’s AMAG Austria Metall AG, adding another core industrial investment to its portfolio.

The shares in PORR AG managed until this point by the B&C Group are sold to the Austrian construction investment group Ortner-Strauss. This results in a long-term Austrian solution for PORR that includes construction and project management expertise.

 

2013-2014

Increase in AMAG interest

In 2013 the Group acquires a controlling interest in AMAG through its 40.9% stake in the company and by means of syndicates with fellow shareholders.

In 2014, the group increases its stake in AMAG Austria Metall AG once again, to 52.7%.

 

April 2015

10 years of the Houska Prize

The Houska Prize, Austria’s largest private research prize, is presented for the tenth time in 2015. Since its introduction, around 430 research projects have been submitted for consideration and a total of almost EUR 3.8m has been paid out by the B&C Private Foundation. A unique commitment to research and innovation that boosts Austria’s standing as a business location.

Video review of the 2015 Houska Prize gala

June 2015

Disposal of interest in Österreichische Lotterien

The B&C Group sells its 7.94% interest in Österreichische Lotterien GmbH (ÖLG) to Novomatic. B&C takes this step in line with its long-term portfolio strategy, so that it can maintain its focus on investing in Austrian industrial companies.

2016

15th anniversary of B&C Private Foundation: Education Prize

To mark the 15th anniversary unthe B&C Private Foundation offered the Education Prize for innovative projects and teaching methods aimed at sharing research findings and invited Austrian education institutions for their submissions. A total of EUR 150,000 in prize money and funding was made available. Chosen from 113 entrants, the three winners shared a total of EUR 30,000. The B&C Private Foundation also supported the 20 best projects at Austrian educational institutions with a further EUR 120,000. The Education Prize awards were presented by the Minister of Education on 18 October 2016.

 

2017

Establishment of a general secretariat for funding activities

To help implement and drive forward measures to promote business in Austria in line with the purpose of the B&C Private Foundation, a general secretariat is created on 1 May 2017. It is headed by Mariella Schurz. As General Secretary, she acts as B&C Private Foundation’s representative when dealing with public bodies, institutions and the media. Working in partnership with the Foundation Board, she is also responsible for the strategic development of the foundation’s business promotion activities.

2017-2018

Unsuccessful attempt by third parties to gain influence and secure beneficiary rights from the B&C Private Foundation

This chapter in B&C’s history is concluded at the end of 2019 with a comprehensive termination agreement with UniCredit and UniCredit Bank Austria, in which UniCredit agrees to forego all beneficiary rights and transfers its final beneficiary status to the Commitment Privatstiftung, which was established by Austrian businessmen.

2019

Establishment of the MEGA Foundation for Education

In 2019 the B&C Private Foundation and the Berndorf Private Foundation establish the R2B MEGA Bildungs-Privatstiftung (MEGA Foundation for Education). This bundles both foundations’ resources and activities aimed at promoting education, enabling them to implement joint projects more quickly and efficiently. MEGA supports innovative education initiatives centred on the twin areas of equal opportunities and economic literacy/life skills. Its goal is to give children and teenagers the life skills they need to be self-reliant in adulthood. To help achieve its objectives, the MEGA Foundation for Education is endowed with an initial budget of more than EUR 5m. R2B MEGA Bildungs-Privatstiftung is a long-term beneficiary of the B&C Private Foundation.