CapMan fund exits Lohja Caravans

Finnish private equity firm CapMan has announced the sale of portfolio company Lohja Caravans, which it acquired in 1993.

Finnventure Fund I, a private equity fund managed by CapMan, is selling its stake in Lohja Caravans in a deal due to complete in January 2004.

CapMan owned a stake of about 59 per cent prior to the deal, having led a management buyout ten years ago from Finnish ship power supplier Wartsila Corporation. Wartsila and the Lohja management team are also selling their minority stakes into the latest deal.

Financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed, but CapMan said the exit would have an effect of approximately E900,000 on its 2004 result. It was reported to have paid around FIM68m (E11.4m) when it acquired the business. Lohja is being sold to an investor group comprising Sinituote, Westment, Karisma and Cumasa of Finland and Expo-Forvaltning of Sweden.

Lohja Caravans, which has been one of the leading manufacturers of caravans in Scandinavia since 1964, will change its name to SoliferPolar after the deal – reflecting the firm’s two leading caravan brands, Polar and Solifer.

Polar has a market share of about ten per cent in the Nordic region and more than 15 per cent in Sweden, while Solifer has around eight per cent in the Nordic region and more than 25 per cent in Finland. In October, the company said it would focus caravan production in Sweden and aim to grow its market position throughout the Nordic region. Its estimated turnover for 2003 is in excess of E40m.

“At present, Lohja Caravans’ operations are at an important stage of development and therefore the commitment of the new owners as long-term owners of the company is of great value,” said Patrik Anckar, director of Lohja. “Our objective is to build Lohja Caravans into the biggest manufacturer of caravans in the Nordic countries.”      

CapMan, which is listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange, is a leading private equity investor in the Nordic countries specialising in buyouts and technology investments. It manages and/or advises funds with approximately E1.7bn in total capital.