Investcorp, the international private equity firm with offices in London, New York and Bahrain, has made its latest acquisition in Europe, buying Swedish bed manufacturer Hilding Anders for an undisclosed sum.
Hilding Anders was founded in 1939 in southern Sweden and has grown to be one of the leading European manufacturers of beds and mattresses. In 2002 it generated sales of SKr3.6bn (E408m) and the Group currently employs approximately 2,200 people, of which 400 are based in Sweden. During the past five years the company has embarked on a program of European expansion, which saw Swedish private equity firms Ratos and Nordic Capital both acquire minority stakes in the company.
Nordic Capital became a shareholder in the business when it merged with bed manufacturer APAX Intressenter in 1999. Nordic Capital controls about 32 per cent of Hilding Anders as a result of its investment in APAX [the bed manufacturer not the private equity group] in 1997. The 27 per cent stake held by Ratos came via an investment in Hilding Anders made by Atle M&A in 1998 under then Atle president Arne Karlsson. The majority of Atle’s holdings were transferred to Ratos when it acquired Atle in May 2001.
The sale provides Ratos with an exit gain of approximately SKr215m (E24m), generating an average annual internal rate of return (IRR) of 28 per cent. Nordic Capital has yet to disclose its return on investment.
“We have been planning to list Hilding Anders for some time and now the company is ready for the stock market,” said Ratos CEO Arne Karlsson. “At the same time, the negotiations conducted with Investcorp have resulted in a solution that creates good prospects for the company to focus on continued expansion while entailing an enhanced exit situation for the owners in terms of value.”
Investcorp managing director Yves Alexandre said that Investcorp had been impressed by Hilding Anders leading position in Europe and the strength of its local brands: “We plan to support Hilding Anders in developing both its branded and private-label products and in strengthening its relationships with existing customers, as the company grows and consolidates its position across Europe.”