Blackstone Buys 44% Stake in German Camera Leader Leica

U.S. private equity giant Blackstone (NYSE:BX) has purchased a 44% stake in Leica Camera in an effort to help the German company accelerate its international growth plans.

Leica, known as the world’s first maker of compact cameras, is headquartered in Solms, Germany and employees some 1,150 workers. The company said the latest plans to expand follow its successful turnaround and record sales last year.

“We are now focused on the continued development of the brand, its products and our growth plans into new markets such as Asia, South America and the Middle East,” Leica said in a statement.

The company called Blackstone the “right partner” to achieve its expansion goals because of its global footprint, strategic expertise and operations in Asia.

No financial details were disclosed. The deal is slated to close in the fourth quarter of this year.

After running into financial troubles in 2005 then launching a turnaround, Leica posted sales last year of 248.8 million euros, which is about $340 million. The revenue was up 57.2% from the year-earlier period.

The company’s biggest shareholder, Austrian investor family Kaufmann’s holding company ACM Projektentwicklung, will maintain its current holding in the company.

Leica said it has no plans to sell more shares.