Ratos acquires Norwegian HRM firm

Swedish private equity firm Ratos has announced the acquisition of ErgoBluegarden, the Norwegian human resources management firm, from Norway Post for NOK340m (E41m).

Ratos has announced the acquisition of 100 per cent of ErgoBluegarden, one of the five largest players in human resources management in the Nordic region.

The E41m acquisition price will initially be paid in cash. Upon completion of a pending refinancing, which is due to complete by the end of February 2004, Ratos’ equity investment will amount to approximately SEK250m (E27.5m).

ErgoBluegarden has around 300 employees in offices in seven locations in Norway and one in Denmark. It focuses on standardised payroll processing systems, IT services for other HRM functions, IT-supported outsourcing of HRM departments and consulting services. In 2002, the firm posted total sales of NOK340m (E41m) with a pre-tax profit of NOK35m (E4m).

“This is a company and industry that suit Ratos well,” said Ratos’ CEO Arne Karlsson. “The current industry structure will offer several attractive structural deals. At the same time, ErgoBluegarden’s management has created a profitable and well-run operation that generates good profits and stable cash flows.”

Earlier in the month, Ratos and Lehman Brothers agreed to acquire an 81 per cent stake in listed Swedish property group Tornet after failing to acquire the 90 per cent stake required to delist the company. It was Ratos’ 25th investment since launching its private equity strategy five years ago.