CapMan buys DataVis stake in secondary

Finland-based private equity firm CapMan has acquired a 44 per cent stake in loss-making Swedish IT consultancy DataVis in a secondary buyout from Sweden’s Ratos.

CapMan is hoping for a recovery in the IT sector after buying a 44 per cent stake in DataVis from listed Swedish private equity firm Ratos.

“DataVis is quite a conventional IT consultancy that also owns an ASP business,” said Martin Falkevall, a partner at CapMan. “It’s been around for 15 years, has become geographically diversified within Sweden and has grown a nice customer base.”

CapMan has not disclosed financial details of the investment, which has been made from its Swedestart Tech fund, which closed in 2000 with E79.6m of commitments. Falkevall said other CapMan funds may also participate in the deal in due course.

“The IT sector has been heavily punished for a long time and we think it now looks worse than it really is, whereas a year ago the opposite was true,” said Falkevall. “We are hoping from the point of view of timing that the sector has suffered enough.” Of the strategy for the firm, he said: “This is a buy-and-build situation where we will try to grow the company through M&A with the Scandinavian region and return it to profitability.”

DataVis, which has 150 employees and delivered sales of 192m crowns in 2002, received its first investment from Ratos in 1999. The private equity firm built up its 44 per cent stake over the course of its investment.

CapMan has exited five technology investments so far in 2003. One of these, Finnish integration software provider Republica, was forced to file for reorganisation and was sold to its founder for a ‘nominal sum’.