Welzorg?s third PE deal

Industri Kapital’s acquisition of Welzorg sees the Dutch mobility aid company pass to its third group of private equity owners. Gustav Öhman, director of Industri Kapital, described Welzorg as a growth company. “There is strong potential for the company to further develop its product and service offerings as well as to expand geographically,” he said. The size of the deal and the return to former investors UBS Capital were not disclosed.

In 2002 limited exit options prompted a sharp rise in secondary buyouts with 50 recorded in the UK by The Centre for Management Buy-out Research for the first 11 months of the year, compared to a total of 36 last year, and a further 17 across Europe. Welzorg’s tertiary deal status is not exceptional, Andrew Burrows, director of CMBOR, estimates that there have been around 11 tertiary buyouts in the UK in the last ten years although these have mainly been smaller transactions.

The vendor this time around is UBS Capital, the private equity arm of the Swiss bank. UBS bought Welzorg, then known as ZVN Zorgvoorzieningen Nederland, for €150 million in June 2000 from Parcom Ventures and Alpinvest (now part of NIB Capital Private Equity), which each owned a 39 per cent stake, and Residentie Participaties, which held 15 per cent. This Dutch investment syndicate acquired the company when it was privatised in 1994. The company benefited from legislation passing responsibility for the provision of mobility aids to local authorities and private health insurers.

Welzorg leads the Dutch market for the rental, distribution and maintenance of mobility aids such as wheelchairs to the elderly, ill and disabled. The company is headquartered in Amsterdam; it has 43 sales outlets in the Netherlands and employs 800 staff. Forecasted sales for 2002 are €143 million.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2002, subject to regulatory approval.