Hilding Anders secondary buyout

In preparation for a possible IPO, Swedish bed manufacturer Hilding Anders has been sold to global investment group Investcorp by its private equity investors Nordic Capital and Ratos. The value of the deal, through which Investcorp acquired 100% of the company, was not disclosed but Ratos reported an average annual return on its investment of 28%.

Established in 1939, Hilding Anders supplies beds across Europe under proprietary brands such as Dunlopillo, Slumberland, Ekens, Hilding, Bico and Pullman, as well as selling products to furniture chains including Ikea and Jysk. Last year the company delivered more than four million beds, generating sales of SEK3.656bn (€408m).

In the last five years Hilding Anders’ expansion has been achieved organically and through acquisitions, resulting in an eightfold growth in revenues. In 1998 Atle invested in Hilding Anders to support its acquisition of Finnish bed producer Unituli and a 27% stake in the group was then transferred to Ratos when it acquired Atle in 2001. The sale provides Ratos with an exit gain of approximately SEK215m, based on the company’s book value at the end of September.

Nordic Capital’s 32% stake in the company dates back to a 1997 investment in bed manufacturer APAX Intressenter, a company that merged with Hilding Anders in 1999. Further acquisitions followed; in 2001 Hilding Anders bought Slumberland Group, Carl Thögersen and Crown Bedding Industries, and last year the company acquired Alms Snickerifabrik and UK-based Dunlopillo, sold by Bridgepoint Capital and 3i.

In 2002 a new CEO, Anders Pålsson, was recruited in preparation for a possible IPO. Arne Karlsson, CEO of Ratos, says: “We have been planning to list Hilding Anders for some time and now the company is ready for the stock market. At the same time, the negotiations conducted with Investcorp have resulted in a solution that creates good prospects for the company to focus on continued expansion while entailing an enhanced exit situation for the owners in terms of value.”

Investcorp, which has experience in this sector in the US through its ownership of The Simmons Company, plans to support the company’s future growth by further integrating acquisitions and seeking external growth opportunities in new markets. Closing of the deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected in December.