Bridgepoint exits Gower after 15 years

Bridgepoint Capital has sold the UK self-assembly kitchen supplier for £62m, fifteen years after Bridgepoint backed an initial £3.7m MBI of the business.

Bridgepoint Capital, the European mid-market buyout firm, has completed an exit of one of its longest-standing portfolio companies, UK self-assembly kitchen supplier Gower Group, in a £62m sale of the business to Swedish kitchen group Nobia owned by Industri Kapital

Gower was originally the subject of a £3.7m buy-in 1988. The business was inherited from the NatWest Equity Partners portfolio, according to Bridgepoint spokesperson James Murray, and subsequently syndicated to Electra Partners.

 

“We have supported the management at Gower to enable them to build a strong position in the UK market,” added Murray. The sale provides a full exit for Bridgepoint and Electra who reported a ‘significant return’ on their investment, although further details have not been disclosed. Electra was unavailable for comment.

 

Gower employs 475 people in West Yorkshire and will more than double Nobia’s share of sales in the European multiple retailer market to ten per cent, according to a press release. In the UK, Nobia’s best known brand is Magnet which designs fitted kitchens, bedroom and bathroom furniture.

 

Richard Reynolds, chairman of Gower Group, becomes a vice president of the enlarged group. He will be joined at Nobia by his Gower business partner Kevin Ohle, who also becomes a vice president. Nobia was acquired by Industri Kapital in 1996 and had an IPO on the Stockholm Stock Exchange in 2002. IK retains a 25 per cent stake in Nobia. 

 

The sale of Gower is the ninth exit for Bridgepoint in 2003, which has also undertaken seven investments during the year.

In October, Bridgepoint sold its interest in display products designer Artform and also completed the £24.7m sale of Walters Hexagon Group to Anixter International of the US. To date this year, Bridgepoint has returned in excess of E200m to investors.

 

Advisers on the transaction were Hammonds (legal), which acted for Gower Group, Bridgepoint and Electra, and Addleshaw (legal) for Nobia.