PE-Owned Eastway Merges with Entertainment Co.

Eastway, a Nordic entertainment equipment rental and event company backed by CapMan Buyout IX fund, is merging with Norwegian AVAB CAC and AVAB CAC Bergen. The combined company will create a larger entertainment equipment company operating throughout Finland and Norway. Terms of the deal were not released. CapMan will remain a shareholder in the new venture.

PRESS RELEASE

Eastway, an entertainment equipment rental and event organising company jointly owned by CapMan Buyout IX fund and Eastway’s management team, has agreed to merge with Norwegian AVAB CAC AS and AVAB CAC Bergen AS. Together, the companies will form a leading entertainment equipment rental and sales company operating both in Finland and in Norway. The current owners of the merging entities will become shareholders in the new holding company, which in turn will have 100% ownership in all of the three companies. The owners aim to increase market share in the new group’s existing geographies and to grow through further mergers and acquisitions into the rest of the Nordic countries.

AVAB CAC is the market leader in rental, sales and installation of lighting, sound, video, drapes and fabrics, staging, and rigging systems in Norway. AVAB CAC Bergen, of which 35% is owned by AVAB CAC, operates in the same fields of businesses covering the western parts of Norway. Both companies have been involved in most major installations and productions in Norway during the recent years (e.g. The Nobel’s Peace Prize Concerts, The Norwegian Opera and Bergen International Festival). The new group comprising Eastway, AVAB CAC and AVAB CAC Bergen, is estimated to generate a turnover of approx. €55 million in 2011.

“Our strategy together with Eastway management has been to build a strong pan-Nordic player in the entertainment equipment rental and event production markets. The merger with AVAB CAC and AVAB CAC Bergen is the first step towards that goal. The new group is targeting growth both organically and through acquisitions across the Nordic region”, says Olli Liitola, Senior Partner at CapMan and responsible for the investment.

“Merger with Eastway is a major opportunity for AVAB CAC. By sharing best practices and aligning our offering, we can provide a wider range of services and products to our customers and to benefit from cross-border synergies. With support from CapMan, we are well positioned to develop the group to become the clear market leader across the Nordic countries”, says Kristian Heder, CEO of AVAB CAC.

“Together with AVAB CAC, we have established a solid platform from which to grow across the Nordic region. AVAB CAC’s offering complements Eastway’s current offering in entertainment equipment rental side, which was recently strengthened through an acquisition of a Finnish entertainment equipment rental company Moving Light. Going forward we are targeting further mergers and acquisitions to become a significant player in all Nordic countries, says Juha Hytti, CEO of Eastway.

The merger between Eastway, AVAB CAC and AVAB CAC Bergen is subject to approval from the competition authorities. The expected closing is in August 2011.