Advent backs Danish retail expansion

Advent International has acquired Danish furniture retailer ILVA with former B&Q CEO Martin Toogood helping the company expand across Europe.

Advent International, the London-based private equity firm, has led a buyout of ILVA, a family-owned furniture retailer based in Denmark.


Financial details for the transaction have not been disclosed, although the price is put at around E90m for the business, which has an annualised turnover of around E95m. Debt for the transaction has been provided by Bank of Scotland.


Advent plans to grow the business internationally, primarily into Sweden, with further expansion forecast into the UK market. The firm has joined forces with Martin Toogood, formerly CEO of B&Q and Habitat, non-executive director of Heals, and retail director of Woolworths and BHS, to lead the company’s growth. “We are already looking for out-of-town sites in Sweden and the UK,” commented Toogood.


ILVA, founded in 1974 by the Linde family, currently has three out-of-town stores in Denmark, totalling 280,000 square feet of retail space. Jorgen Linde, currently president, will retire from the company, but his son, Jesper Linde, will continue as CEO, Scandinavia. Apart from Martin Toogood, Advent International has recruited Derek Maynard, formerly executive director of BHS, as development director. 


“ILVA is well positioned to build a major pan-European business: its broad product range is easily adaptable to preferences in local markets, it has attractive and flexible store formats, easily edited and adaptable catalogues, a supplier base that can support expansion and delivery to several countries, and good IT systems,” said Fred Wakeman, director at Advent International.


Advent International has now backed more than 30 companies in the retail sector in Europe, the US and South America, including Vision Express, HMV Group and Poundland, the UK single price discount chain, acquired by Advent in June 2002 in a £50m deal. 


The European furniture retail sector was worth E78bn in 2001 with analysts forecasting growth running at four per cent per annum.