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Euroventures makes partial exit from Hrnell

Recapitalisation of Swedish firm Hrnell International has provided Euroventures with a partial exit. The investor has received SEK76 million (EURO8.4 million) for its 28 per cent stake in the company. Hrnell, which manufactures protective equipment for welding, has restructured its balance sheet with an injection of SEK270 million in senior debt from Handelsbanken and a vendor loan of SEK100 million, of which Euroventures has financed SEK28 million.

Euroventures invested SEK18 million in the company in 1996, through its Swedetech fund; the sole investor in this SEK175 million fund is 3i. Hrnell was started in 1980 and produces welding filters that darken automatically when exposed to strong light and protect the face, head and lungs. Hrnell Elektrooptik was acquired by the newco Hrnell International in June 1996 with a 50:50 gearing. The company is headquartered in Gagnef, Sweden and has subsidiaries in Brazil, France, Germany, Poland, the UK and the US. Sales in 2000 were SEK322 million.

The recapitalisation, motivated by high profitability and a strong cash position, was structured through a newco. Existing shareholders keep their current stakes, Euroventures holds 28 per cent, Skandia Investment 30 per cent and founder ke Hrnell 40 per cent. Euroventures is looking for a complete realisation of its commitment in the next 18 months, probably through a trade sale, as the 1993 Swedetech fund reaches maturity. Other active investments from this fund include heavy press systems company, AP&T and Primus, which manufactures gas appliances.

Euroventures is currently raising Euroventures V, a EURO150 million fund to finance buyouts and expansion situations across the Nordic region. A first closing is due in September. The firm also manages Nordica I & II and the Baltic Rim Fund.