Nordic makes 5x on Permobil exit

The Swedish firm has sold the wheelchair business to Investor, a few months after holding the first close on its latest vehicle.

Stockholm-headquartered buyout firm Nordic Capital has sold Permobil to Swedish holding Investor for SEK5.5 billion (€661 million, $849 million).

The transaction, still subject to regulatory clearance, comprises SEK5.1 billion in cash and SEK400 million in performance-based future potential earn-outs. It will generate a 5x return on investment for the firm, according to a source close to the deal.

Founded in 1967, Permobil is the world’s largest producer of powered wheelchairs. It was acquired by Nordic in 2006, as an investment from the firm’s Fund V.

The company has nearly doubled its sales since then, reaching SEK1.6 billion in revenues last year, and grown its workforce to 700 staff. Based in Timrå, Sweden, it now operates in 30 countries.

“I am proud that Nordic Capital has been part of the evolution of Permobil. The strategy of operational improvements by investments in R&D and expansion into new markets, such as the US, led by an excellent management team, has propelled Permobil into a global leader,” said Fredrik Näslund, a partner at Nordic, in a statement.

This successful exit comes a few months after Nordic announced a €1.7 billion first close on Fund VIII, its latest vehicle. The firm started fundraising in April 2012 with a €4 billion target, but revised its ambitions to between €3 billion to €3.5 billion last October.

Its previous vehicle, which closed in 2008 on €4.3 billion, has generated a 3.8x return on all its exited investments, a source said at the time. It funded the acquisition of Ellos and Jotex, two Scandinavian retailers, at the end of February.

Now over 80 percent deployed, it is likely to make one or two more acquisitions before being fully invested, a Nordic spokesperson said earlier this year.

Nordic hopes to reach a final close on Fund VIII by the summer of this year.