Brandtex fits for EQT

Nordic buyout firm EQT Partners has bought family-owned Danish clothing company Brandtex Group for about US$550m.

EQT is understood to want to change the company’s management, which is led by Jens Iversen, and rationalise the holding structure for the firm’s 15 brands, which include Blend, b.young, Fransa, 4YOU, and Kabooki, in order to cut back-office costs.

The company, which was founded in 1935, has already outsourced its manufacturing operations and in 2004 had sales of DKr3.3bn (US$560bn) in 25 countries and pre-tax income of DKr100m .

Ole Andersen, a Copenhagen-based partner at EQT, completed the deal from the firm’s fourth fund, which closed at €2.5bn last year. Swedish bank Svenska Handelsbanken advised EQT and is providing the near two-thirds debt to fund the deal.

EQT’s most recent purchase was the takeover of ISS, a Danish listed cleaning company, for €3bn (US$3.9bn) alongside Goldman Sachs Capital Partners. The deal, which was the Nordic region’s largest-ever buyout, had not been expected by the market and bondholders were left with falling prices as the leveraged buyout weakened the company’s balance sheet and led to downgrades by the major rating agencies.