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Ferd makes first purchase

Ferd Private Equity, a Norwegian private equity firm 40% owned by industrial group Ferd AS, made its first acquisition since the second and final closing of its debut fund. The firm acquired 85% of Noratel, a manufacturer of distributors and transformers, within days of closing the fund at NKr2bn.

Ferd AS is the largest of a total of 25 Norwegian and international investors in the fund, which was capped at NKr2bn. Others include Orkla, Storebrand Livsforsikring and the Third Swedish National Pension Fund. Previous investments were made in Collett Pharma and Pronova Biocare.

At first close on August 23, capital committed was NKr1.25bn. At that point, 15 investors were in the fund, with Orkla and Storebrand Life ranking as the largest investors after Ferd.

Gert Munthe, who runs the firm with Tore Rynning-Nielsen and Morten Blix, said the fund would make investments in larger Norwegian and Nordic companies in the NKr100m to NKr400m range. “In many cases there have been few or no Norwegian players with sufficient financial strength to buy (non-core) businesses. Far too often this has meant that Norwegian businesses have been sold to foreign owners,” he said.

Ferd Private Equity requires at least 50% ownership in its portfolio companies, and normally expects to have an interest of 90% or more. The firm may also strengthen its current team of five with some new appointments.

Noratel, a manufacturer and distributor of transformers, had approximately NKr300m in revenues in 2004, up from NKr266m in 2003. Operating profit was approximately NKr25m, up from NKr19m.

Åge Andersen and managing director Asle Braathen Tandberg will continue as shareholders in Noratel AS, together holding 15% of the shares. The remaining 85% is controlled by Ferd Private Equity.