Accent, Skandia exit Hornell International

The Swedish manufacturer of welding protective gear has been sold to 3M, with a reported return of 13 times the original investment.

Swedish private equity firm Accent Equity Partners and insurance group Skandia have realised their investment in welding protective gear maker Hornell International with the sale of the business to diversified technology group 3M in a deal valued at SKr750 million (€82 million; $105 million).

Accent and Skandia co-led the investment in 1996, with Accent investing through its Swedetech fund and Skandia Investment via its Priveq Partners fund. Swedetech had one single LP in the form of listed investment company Atle, which was later acquired by 3i and Ratos.     

Hörnell International manufactures personal protective equipment for face, head and respiratory systems. The company’s customers are principally welders in Western Europe and North America and the business has a market share of approximately 40 percent. Hörnell is based in Gagnef, Sweden and reported sales in 2003 of approximately SKr370 million, more than double the SKr150 million sales achieved 1996.

'Hörnell will, with 3M as an owner, have an excellent opportunity to continue its growth to new markets through the new owner’s global network and technology focus,” says Thomas Wernhoff, founding partner of Accent Equity Partners (formed from the merger of Euroventures and Nordico), who has managed Accent's investment since the acquisition in 1996.

Carnegie Investment Bank acted as financial advisor to the main owners of Hörnell.