Nordic Capital Expands Thule Stake

Nordic Capital Fund VII bought a 28% stake in Thule Group, bringing the investor’s aggregate position to 85% of the Swedish outdoor products maker.  After spending €1.3 billion to acquire the company from Candover in 2008, Nordic invested another $64 million in Thule in 2009 to preserve its majority stake. Ulf Rosberg, director of Thule and partner with Nordic Capital, said the investor’s goal is an IPO.

 

PRESS RELEASE:

 

Nordic Capital Fund VII has acquired shares of the leisure outdoor group Thule Group from a consortium of banks, corresponding to 28% of the equity. The acquisition will give the Thule Group a clear ownership structure, as well as additional financial strength to support the Group’s continued expansion.

 

Nordic Capital acquires a minority stake of the Thule Group’s shares which since 2008 has been owned by a consortium of seven banks, corresponding to 28% of the equity. Nordic Capital Fund VI already owns 57% of the shares of the Thule Group, hence together the Funds, (“Nordic Capital”) will control over 85% of the Group, leading to a clear ownership structure.

 

Nordic Capital Fund VII’s acquisition enables higher future growth for the Thule Group.

“Our efforts to streamline the company, strengthening our brands and to reach all the way to the consumers in a better and more visible way have driven a positive development at all levels within the Thule Group. This work can now be further enhanced thanks to the confidence that Nordic Capital shows us as a dominant owner”, said Magnus Welander, President and CEO of the Thule Group.

 

The Thule Group has developed strongly over the past two years. An active lifestyle, through various forms of exercise and outdoor activities is a stable trend. This is shown not the least by the sectors of the retail trade linked to sports, outdoor and recreational activities. All these segments have displayed good growth rates throughout the 2000s. The annual increase in sales of sports and leisure products in Sweden exceeds 7%, which is higher than the average for the retail sector in general. The development in other European countries follow the same pattern.

 

“Thule has developed very strongly over the past two years, and the repositioning initiated by efficiency gains, sale of non-core businesses and the clear commitment to a brand and consumer focused strategy looks promising. This strategy can now be further accelerated by add-on acquisitions”, said Hans Eckerström, director of Thule and Partner, Nordic Capital, and leading its consumer goods investments team.

 

“We are proud and pleased with the strong recovery that the Thule Group has achieved and that the solution reached with the banks at the end of 2008 can now be completed to the satisfaction of all parties. With Nordic Capital Fund VII’s acquisition of the banks’ shares, the Thule Group can now prepare for the next phase of expansion and work towards a future IPO”, said Ulf Rosberg, director of Thule and Partner, Nordic Capital.