EQT completes Salcomp exit(3)

EQT has sold its remaining 22.4 per cent stake in Helsinki-based Salcomp, a manufacturer of mobile phone chargers, bringing to an end of its longest-standing investments.

EQT has completed its exit from Salcomp, a Finnish company that makes mobile phone chargers, by selling its remaining stake to Swedish investment group Nordstjernan for about €35 million ($47 million).

The Swedish buyout firm has sold its remaining 22.4 percent stake, almost eighteen months after taking the company public in Finland. The share purchase takes Nordstjernan’s stake above 50 percent, which means it is now obliged to launch a mandatory takeover bid for the whole company.

The sale brings an end to one of EQT’s longest-standing investments – it bought the company out of Finnish mobile phone giant Nokia in 1999, the deal coming from its second fund. Since then Salcomp has expanded to employ some 6300 people worldwide, making power supplies for most of the world’s biggest phone manufacturers. It had sales of €259 million last year.

EQT listed the company on the Helsinki Stock Exchange in March 2006 but retained a shareholding of 52 percent. In June it sold a 30 percent stake to Nordstjernan, and the investment group has now taken up the option to acquire EQT’s remaining shares.

Nordstjernan now controls a 52.3 percent stake in Salcomp, so it is compelled by Finnish takeover law to bid for the remaining shares in the business. It has pitched the mandatory offer at €4.01 per share, equivalent to the highest price it has paid to buy shares in Salcomp in the last six months.

However, the Finnish company described the offer as “unsatisfactory” and even Nordstjernan president Tomas Billing does not expect the bid to succeed. He said: “We do not expect the bid to gain large acceptance, as the offered price is below the current price on the stock exchange.”

EQT was unavailable for comment on its overall returns from the investment, but it is likely to have generated proceeds of about €35 million from today’s share sale.

Shares in Salcomp were trading at €4.29, down 0.92 percent, at 11:48 CET this morning, giving the company a market capitalisation of €167.2 million.