UK-based buyout firm Candover has generated a return of more than 2.5 times its initial investment by selling Thule Group, a Swedish equipment transport company, to rival Nordic Capital.
Terms were not disclosed, but the company recorded revenues of about €711 million ($957 million) last year, with profits of €99.2 million. Based on the multiple Candover has previously used to value the business, this would put a price tag of about €1.3 billion on Thule – around 13 times earnings.
Further acquisitions may follow. Nordic Capital, which is acquiring the business from its sixth buyout fund, said Thule was “an excellent platform both for future add-on acquisitions and for organic growth.”
The company’s current management team, led by president and chief executive Anders Petterson, is re-investing in the secondary buyout and will remain in place. He said: “Strategically, we will continue with our buy and build strategy, with the aim of creating a €1 billion company by 2009.”
Sweden-based Thule makes devices for cars to transport sports equipment and leisure items, including bike racks, trailers and rooftop boxes. Under Candover’s ownership, the company has enjoyed steady growth – Thule now employs over 4,000 people and has more than 30 sites in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia.
Candover’s other investments in the region include Get, a Norwegian cable TV operator, and Swedish bedmaker Hilding Anders, which it bought for about €1 billion in December.