Fvling Mbelfabrik exit creates new company

Danish investment company Axcel has realised its investment in furniture manufacturer Fvling Mbelfabrik, part of which was sold in 2000, by merging it with former competitor Harry Iversen Mbler. The new group will be known as Astralis (Latin for star) and will have a turnover of over DKr600 million. Axcel and a number of Axcel shareholders, as well as HLJ Industri are selling their shares in Fvling Mbelfabrik. Axcel has reportedly made about seven times the money invested on this deal.

Axcel acquired Fvling, which makes solid pine furniture, in autumn 1996 as part of Tvilum-Scanbirk. The company was merged with HLJ Industri, another furniture business, in 1998. The owners of the Fvling Group were then Axcel and a number of its shareholders including ATP Private Equity, a Danish pension fund (40 per cent), the Kristiansen family, which founded Tvilum (27 per cent) and HLJ Industri (33 per cent). The flatpack or ready-to-assemble (RTA) part of the group was sold to Masco Corporation, a listed American manufacturer of consumer products, in 2000. According to Christian Frigast, managing director of Axcel, this transaction returned around 99 per cent of the profit on the Tvilum-Scanbirk investment.

The products of the remaining Fvling group, now merged with Harry Iversen Mbler, include beds, wardrobes, chests of drawers and tables. Its annual turnover is about DKr500 million, with most of its production being exported to Germany and Austria. Frigast said pine furniture manufacturing was a far more troublesome part of the business but that under the new ownership it would make a good private company.

The new group will be owned by the Iversen family, owners of Harry Iversen Mbler, and the Kristiansen family, which owned a stake in Fvling Mbelfabrik. ATP Private Equity continues to hold a minority stake.