Altor acquires Helly Hansen

Altor Fund II (Altor) is to acquire Helly Hansen, a leading provider of action utility wear for survival, work and sport, from Investcorp.

Altor announced today that it has entered into an agreement with Investcorp to purchase 100 percent of the shares in Helly Hansen, the worldwide supplier of technical apparel and footwear for outdoor sports, workwear and survival.

Founded in Norway in 1877, Helly Hansen operates in three business areas. Sport & Leisure is Helly Hansen’s largest division, supplying branded technical apparel and footwear for outdoor sports. The company’s Workwear division serves the professional apparel markets, while a dedicated unit manufactures and distributes survival suits for the oil & gas industry.

Headquartered in Moss, Norway, the company generates annual sales of approximately NOK 1,400 million (USD 210 million) and employs approximately 600 employees across Europe, North America and Asia. Helly Hansen’s products are sold through general sports retailers, specialty retailers and dedicated Helly Hansen stores.

Altor is in its third year of operation and specializes in acquiring majority shareholdings in mid-sized companies in the Nordic region where, as an active owner, it can contribute to positive and lasting change in its portfolio companies.

“Helly Hansen has built a truly global brand which marries authentic substance and a strong legacy with progressive and trend-right design. Altor will assist the company in utilising its strong brand name and product competence to strengthen its market position. We are very excited about this opportunity to work with Helly Hansen’s management team in the next stages of the journey they have embarked on. The strategy is to continue the focus on operational excellence and grow the brand in its existing markets”, said Hugo Maurstad, partner in Altor Equity Partners.

“With Altor as its new owner, Helly Hansen will have a strong partner with financial resources and extensive expertise that can further support our future growth. Altor identifies and subscribes to the current Helly strategy and will help us to unlock the fantastic potential of the brand”, said Jan Valdmaa, CEO of Helly Hansen. “The brand is going trough an exciting rejuvenation, building design leadership and innovation on the company’s unique heritage of survival, work and sport”.

Tito Soso, a Principal with Investcorp said: “We believe that thanks to the substantial efforts made by the management team over the past three years, Helly Hansen has been able to successfully reposition its brand, rejuvenate its product range, and refocus its distribution. The company is now well positioned to embark onto the next stage of its profitable growth strategy.”

Investcorp was advised by KPMG Corporate Finance and Silver Steep Partners. Altor was advised by SEB Enskilda ASA and Cardo Partners AS. Transaction details were not disclosed.

The acquisition of Helly Hansen is conditional upon the approval of the transaction by the relevant competition authorities.

About Helly Hansen ASA
Norwegian Helly Hansen ASA is a global leader in action-utility wear for survival, work and sport. Innovation has been a foundation of Helly Hansen since the company was established in 1877, and its technical outdoor products are designed to be an enabling layer between human will and nature’s forces. Helly Hansen is distributed in more than 40 countries.
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About Helly Hansen Spesialprodukter AS
Helly Hansen Spesialprodukter is the leading supplier of survival suits to the Norwegian oil industry. The company manufactures, sells and rents personal protection products (immersion- and survival suits) to the oil and offshore industry. The company also applies its textile knowledge to other specialist technical markets, principally the production of canopies to the leisure boat industry. The company is a wholly own subsidiary of Helly Hansen ASA and located in Moss.
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About Altor
The Altor funds (Altor) are private equity funds comprising the Altor 2003 Fund with EUR 650 million in capital and Altor Fund II with EUR 1,150 million in capital. It is advised by Altor Equity Partners with offices in Oslo and Stockholm. Altor focuses on Nordic investments with enterprise value ranging from SEK 500 million to SEK 4 billion with value creation opportunities based on growth, strategic re-positioning and operational improvements. Altor Equity Partners has 25 employees, highly qualified and experienced in supporting companies through the change process. Since its inception, Altor investments include Aco Hud (exited in 2004), Lindorff, Dynapac, Ability Group ASA (listed on Oslo Stock Exchange July 2006), Relacom, Ferrosan, Aalborg Industries, Meyn, PaloDEx, Navico (Simrad and Lowrance), Byggmax, Nimbus Boats, Scandpower, PIAB and Dustin.

About Investcorp
Investcorp is an alternative asset manager with offices in London, New York and Bahrain. The firm has four lines of business: private equity investment, real estate investment, hedge funds and venture capital. Since its foundation in 1982, Investcorp has arranged investments with a combined value of approximately $30 billion. The firm now manages total investments in alternative assets of around $10 billion.
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Author: Katarina Karlsson
Date: 2006.10.23
Categories: News

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