Accent fund heads for €265m close

Accent Equity Partners, the Stockholm-based mid-market private equity firm, will close its debut fund at a capped level of €265 million at the end of this month, according to market sources.

Accent Equity Partners, the Scandinavian investor formed in April 2003 from the merger of Euroventures and Nordico, is heading towards a €265 million final close of its debut fund – Accent Equity 2003 – according to sources.

The firm posted a second closing last month on €200 million, which was the original minimum target. The first closing of €75 million in August 2003 followed marketing restricted to domestic investors that had committed to previous Euroventures or Nordico funds, such as Sixth AP Fund and Danske Kapitalanlaeg. From then on, the firm targeted international institutions.

UBS Private Equity Funds Group is advising Accent as placement agent.

This week, Accent Equity 2003 announced its third deal when signing an agreement to buy a 56.76 percent stake in the operating company of listed Norwegian stove and fireplace manufacturer Jotul for NOK 370 million (€44 million; $55 million) from Norwegian private equity firm Whitecliff. The deal is expected to complete at the end of July subject to final approval at an extraordinary shareholders meeting.

Den Norske Bank (DnB Nor) is providing acquisition finance for the deal, while financial and legal advisers include Bain & Co, PWC, Mannheimer Swartling, Wikborg Rein and DNV (Norske Veritas).

Accent was originally beaten in a competitive auction for Jotul by The Riverside Company, a US mid-market private equity firm. However, Jotul pulled out of the deal when it transpired that Riverside wanted to buy the company’s assets rather than its shares, which sources close to the deal say would have resulted in an uneconomical tax charge. Accent then re-opened negotiations with the vendor, and ultimately struck a deal.

Jotul has been a manufacturer of cast iron hearths since 1853, and now produces a range of stoves and fireplaces. Niklas Sloutski, partner at Accent, said the firm will assist Jotul management in fulfilling its potential in the US market, which is expected to be the major source of growth, as well as playing an active role in the consolidation of an extremely fragmented global stove market.

Accent’s two previous investments from its 2003 Fund were Cefar, an electrotherapy specialist, and Wernersson, a cheese wholesaler.