Candover in bed for €1bn

UK buyout house Candover has acquired Hilding Anders, a Swedish manufacturer of mattresses and beds, in a €1bn deal from Investcorp, the Bahrain headquartered investment firm.

The deal marks an end to Investcorp’s three year investment and is the fourth from the €3.5bn Candover 2005 fund, which closed in November 2005.

Founded in 1939 and headquartered in Malmö, Hilding Anders sells both branded and own-label mattresses and in some countries it manufactures bed frames. It owns a number of well-known brands across Europe, including Slumberland and Jensen, sold by the likes of IKEA and Jysk. It employs over 3,100 staff across 18 production sites in 26 European countries.

Gary Long, Investcorp’s chief operating officer, said: “Since we acquired Hilding Anders in December 2003, the company has developed into a truly global organisation. Added value has come from a combination of operational improvements and add on acquisitions in Asia and Europe (Croatia, France, Norway and Spain). We believe it is a model of how private equity support after acquisition, in partnership with a visionary management team, can transform a company. Our partnership with the management team and employees of Hilding Anders has more than reached our expectations. The company has, in less than three years, provided a highly favourable rate of return to our investors.”

For Candover this is the London based firm’s fourth Scandinavian investment: Thule, the sports utility transportation specialist; oilfield services provider Vetco Aibel; and GET (previously UPC Norway), the cable TV operator.

Speaking about the Hilding deal, John Arney, managing director of Candover, said:

“Hilding Anders demonstrated many qualities which immediately attracted us to the business. Led by Anders Pålsson, it has an excellent management team with a clear strategic vision, established brands, strong cash flows and out-performance in a growth market. We have identified a unique opportunity to work alongside management and expand the footprint of the business”.

Candover’s fund is following a similar strategy to the preceding 2001 fund. It will seek to invest in mid-to-large buyouts across Europe, with a particular emphasis on the UK, France, Germany, Benelux, Italy, Scandinavia and Spain.

The acquisition of Hilding follows Candover’s purchase of DX Services, a UK business mail service, in a €520m public to private transaction.

In May it bought EurotaxGlass’s Group, the automotive data and intelligence services, provider, for €480m.