Swedish private equity conglomerate Ratos AB (NASDAQ Stockholm: RATOB) agreed to acquire 100% of Plantasjen, a leading Nordic region chain store for plants and gardening accessories, from London-based global private equity firm Apax Partners, for NOK 1.2 billion ($148 million), with an enterprise value of NOK 2.9 billion ($356 million).
Plantasjen, founded in 1986 in Norway, has grown to 124 stores in Norway, Sweden and Finland, with a primary focus on the consumer segment, becoming “the largest and fastest growing garden superstore chain in the Nordic region,” according to Apax Partners, which acquired the company in 2007.
The Norwegian gardening chain has nearly 1,200 employees and reported sales of NOK 3.7 billion in the last twelve months ending June 30, 2016, with EBITDA of NOK 370m.
“Plantasjen’s leading market position, strong brand and product offering in a market with stable growth is highly attractive. We anticipate continued high potential for increased sales in both current garden centres and the new investments in smaller, more centrally located stores,” said Lars Johansson, acting CEO at Ratos.
“The company is currently working to sharpen its focus on its range of plant products, in order to meet the increased interest in plants and cultivation, which we consider to be a successful strategy for continued growth in value. Our experience in driving growth in consumer companies, combined with the company’s strong management and ambitious business plan, makes this a particularly interesting investment for Ratos,” he added.
“Plantasjen has a strong brand and a broad establishment in the Nordic region, and operates within an attractive market segment where we see considerable development potential to further build on these strengths,” said Jon Abrahamsson Ring, president and CEO of Plantasjen. “Combined with Ratos’s experience, competence and capital, the capacity represented by the leading brand of plants in all channels offers great potential to further strengthen our market position in the Nordic region.”
The deal is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter.
Ratos is an investment company that owns and actively develops unlisted medium-sized Nordic companies. Ratos is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm and has a total of approximately 16,100 employees. The firm’s portfolio consists of 21 medium-sized Nordic companies, primarily in the construction, industrials and consumer goods/commerce segments, including AH Industries, Aibel, airteam, ArcusGruppen, Biolin Scientific, Bisnode, DIAB, Euromaint, GS-Hydro, HENT, HL Display, Jøtul, KVD, Ledil, Mobile Climate Control, Nebula, Serena Properties, Speed Group and TFS.
Ratos is celebrating 150 years, with its roots dating back to 1866, when Söderberg & Haak, Sweden’s first wholesale company for iron and iron products was founded. In 1934 all of its assets were placed in an investment company under the name Ratos, as in Ragnar and Torsten Söderberg. Ratos’s business focus has evolved over the years, but the connecting thread throughout its history is its role as an active owner in Nordic companies. By the late 90s, Ratos became a pure-play private equity conglomerate consisting of a listed portfolio of shares.
Apax Partners is an independent global partnership focused solely on long-term investment in growth companies. Funds advised by Apax Partners typically invest in large companies with an enterprise value between €1bn and €5bn. The firm invests in four sectors: tech & telco, services, healthcare, and consumer. Apax has raised a total of $38.1 billion in funds as at June 30, 2016.