Nordic, Accent acquire Swedish retail chain

The two Nordic private equity firms have bought fashion retailer KappAhl for SEK1.95bn from The Swedish Cooperative Union.

Stockholm-headquartered private equity firms Nordic Capital and Accent Equity Partners have completed the acquisition of Swedish fashion retail chain KappAhl for SEK1.95 billion (€216 million; $275 million).

Alongside a substantial investment from the management team, Nordic has taken a 70 percent stake of the remaining equity, with Accent taking the 30 percent balance.

KappAhl employs 3,300 people in 240 stores across Sweden, Norway, Finland and Poland. In 2003, the firm reported revenues of SEK3.8 billion and operating profits of SEK120 million.

Commenting on the transaction, Nordic Capital partner Bo Söderberg said in a statement: “KappAhl has reversed a negative performance trend and demonstrated its ability to generate profits. We have financial resources and industrial know-how needed to evolve KappAhl’s business going forward.”

Nordic is currently investing its fifth buyout fund dedicated to the region, which closed in April 2003 on €1.5 billion.

The transaction is Accent’s fourth deal since it closed its oversubscribed debut fund on €250 million in August this year. The firm has invested in Cefar, a Swedish electrotherapy specialist; Wernersson, a Swedish cheese wholesaler; and Jotul, a Norwegian stove and fireplace manufacturer.

According to partner Niklas Sloutski, the fund is now approximately 30 percent invested. “We’ve been very active since the final closing, investing about one third of the fund in four investments. We’re seeing a rich pipeline of attractive dealflow.”

Accent Equity Partners was formed in April 2003 following Nordico’s recruitment of key members of Euroventures, a fellow Swedish private equity firm. The firm manages in excess of €500 million.