HAMBURG, Germany (Oct. 2)—As part of efforts to focus on core business, Phoenix A.G. has sold its offset printing blanket activities to a management buyout team for an undisclosed price. Effective Oct. 1, the Waltershausen, Germany-based business is owned by the MBO team backed by a fund managed by BPE Private Equity GmbH of Hamburg. The business had sales of $14.8 million last year—up 20 percent over 1999—with 71 employees, according to Phoenix. Among the assets involved are production facilities and materials stocks, as well as expertise in development and manufacture of the printing equipment, Phoenix said. In 2000, the firm invested in additional capacity to meet increased demand for printing products. This capacity came on stream early in 2001 allowing the firm to look forward to "substantial improvements in sales again this year." Highest growth for printing blankets was in Asia and Europe, but Phoenix said the foundations had been laid for strong growth in the U.S. Phoenix said it "will continue to implement its declared strategy of concentration on the group's core activities."