Deals round-up – PRIVATE EQUITY: UBS Capital acquires Welzorg

Early June saw UBS Capital’s EURO150 million buyout of Dutch mobility aids supplier ZVN.

Welzorg, as the group has been renamed, is the leading supplier of mobility aids for the elderly, infirm and disabled, in the Netherlands. UBS Capital acquired Welzorg from three Dutch venture capital shareholders – Parcom Ventures and Alpinvest, with 39 per cent each, and Residentie Participaties, which held 15 per cent – who acquired the company following its privatisation five years ago.

The existing management team, which together with staff held 7 per cent of ZVN prior to the secondary buyout, retain a 3 per cent stake in the new structure.

Welzorg has an impressive track record. The major supplier of wheelchairs in the Netherlands, it has established a strong position in the market for government-subsidised rental of mobility aids. Group sales rose 40 per cent to 120 million in the year leading up to the latest buyout and UBS Capital predicts that this rate of growth will continue over the next three to five years as the full benefits of Welzorg’s recent acquisition of its rival, Huka, make themselves felt.

Welzorg is positioning itself to benefit from the pan-European trend towards home care for the elderly and disabled. The group derives most of its revenue at present from municipally-funded supply of mobility aids but it is now moving into the private market and expects steadily growing income streams as a result.

UBS Capital partner Edwin Richards says: “We believe there is great potential in this market and, with a strong management team, we can build value within Welzorg to establish the company as a significant player in the European mobility market”.