Having acquired Simrad Yachting for US$90m last year, Nordic buyout firm Altor is bolting-on US-based marine electronics maker Lowrance Electronics for US$215m. Navico Acquisition, a newly formed vehicle for Norway-based Simrad Yachting, is offering US$37 per share for its Nasdaq-listed target, which is a 48% premium to the previous day’s closing price.
Darrell Lowrance, the current executive chairman of the eponymous firm he founded in 1957, is the largest shareholder in the company and is backing the merger. Ronald Weber, executive vice-president of engineering and manufacturing at Lowrance, has also agreed to tender his shares to Simrad. Together they own 16% of Lowrance.
Lowrance will become chief executive of the combined company while Jan Berner, the current head of Simrad Yachting, will become his deputy and lead the integration work. Hugo Maurstad, a partner at Altor Equity Partners, will remain as chairman of the combined company.
Lowrance Electronics posted a 35% increase in first-quarter sales to US$23.6m, compared with US$17.5m for the same quarter last year, but its net loss was US$2.8m, down from US$1.7m. For the fiscal year ended July 31, Lowrance reported net income of US$9.4m, on sales of US$146.4m.
Simrad Yachting provides marine electronics for high-end leisure boats and smaller commercial vessels. In September, Altor spent NKr586m (US$90m) on buying the yachting and commercial systems part of Simrad from Norwegian maritime electronics and defence company Kongsberg. Kongsberg had earlier in the month rejected a full NKr3.3bn takeover offer from Swedish private equity group Nordic Capital.