Langholm invests in Danish furniture makers(2)

Langholm Capital has taken a minority stake in two Danish furniture companies, marking its long-awaited first move into the home improvement market.

Langholm Capital, the consumer-focused buyout firm, has made a sixth investment from its debut fund, taking a 49 percent stake in two Danish furniture makers.

Sika-Horsnaes and Cane-Line are two affiliated companies that make woven indoor and outdoor furniture. Both are based in Denmark, but between them they export to almost 60 countries around the world, mostly in Europe and the Middle East.

Langholm said it had been looking at home and garden improvement businesses for some time, and had been attracted to the two companies because of their “impressive historic growth performance and strong niche position in Scandinavia”.

The market taps into a number of the consumer trends on which Langholm focuses: increased leisure time, more disposable income, the attraction of outdoor pursuits, and a growing tendency to favour low-maintenance, sustainable materials.

The firm is backing the managing directors, Knud Andreasen and Brian Djernes, who will continue to run Sika and Cane-Line respectively, while retaining a 51 percent equity stake in the two businesses. Andreasen said Langholm’s brand-building expertise made them an obvious partner: “We felt that it was time to take the companies to the next level. We wanted to do that together with a professional partner who understood the process of developing a brand internationally.”

Christian Lorenzen, a partner and co-founder and partner at Langholm, said his firm would help the two businesses become more international in focus. “They have a good export foothold in a number of places, but we will help to focus on core countries.” It will also look at exploiting southern hemisphere markets to counter-balance the seasonality of the business.

Langholm will have relatively little operational involvement, focusing instead on strategic help. This will include investigating potential bolt-on acquisitions.

Sika-Horsnaes was formed by the merger of two of the oldest rattan furniture makers in Scandinavia, while sister company Cane-Line was established in 1986 as an extra distribution channel for the firm’s Far Eastern production facility, which employs about 3000 people in Malaysia and Indonesia.
Langholm is currently spending its €242 million ($315 million) debut fund, which has consumer goods giant Unilever and Dutch bank Rabobank as its cornerstone investors.