Altor acquires the Åkers Group

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Altor Fund II (“Altor”) has signed a binding agreement with STC Interfinans to acquire the Åkers Group.

The new owners intend to accelerate the company’s global expansion, particularly in the emerging markets, during the coming years and to reinforce Åkers’ position as global market leader within rolls for the steel industry

Altor today announced the acquisition of the Åkers Group from STC Interfinans, which will remain as a significant minority shareholder. Åkers is the world leader within cast and forged rolls for the steel and aluminium industries. Supported by Altor, Åkers plan to accelerate growth and to secure world class operating efficiency.

“STC has built Åkers into a market leader and shepherded the company through some difficult years in the beginning of this decade. Åkers is now an excellent platform to drive growth and technology leadership within the roll industry”, said Fredrik Strömholm, Partner at Altor Equity Partners AB.

In 1985, the Swedish roll producer Åkers Styckebruk AB was acquired from Bofors AB by Interfinans AB (later to become STC Interfinans), which was owned by the Swedish businessman Mr. Holger Hjelm. During STC Interfinans’ period of 100 percent ownership, Åkers has, primarily through acquisitions, been developed into a worldwide group that is today the global market leader within rolls for the steel and metals industries.

“This successful transaction enables STC to surface significant value and to diversify our holdings, for the benefit of our stakeholders. We are very pleased that Altor, a leading and highly respected player in the private equity industry, will be the new majority owner of Åkers. STC, as a significant minority shareholder going forward, will be able to continue to support the company and to benefit from the positive outlook for the steel industry”, said Lars Sköld, CEO of STC Interfinans AB.

Altor has prior experience in development of industrial companies from its investments in Dynapac, Meyn, Aalborg Industries, Piab, Northstar and Constructor.

“We believe that the steel industry has a strong outlook for many years to come as it supports the industrialization, urbanization and consumption growth of the fast growing economies in Asia and South America. Åkers as a supplier of a mission critical consumable is in an excellent position to capitalize on this trend”, said Harald Mix, Partner at Altor Equity Partners AB.

During the past years, Åkers’ management team has been strengthened with several leading steel industry executives, including CEO Bengt Nilsson and CFO Anders Ruth. The management team has started comprehensive efforts in reinforcing Åkers’ leading customer service and technology advantage. Altor aims to accelerate these efforts and create a true world class industrial group.

“Åkers is a company with fantastic opportunities. We are excited about having Altor as the majority owner. With their excellent track record in developing industrial companies, I believe that this is extremely positive for Åkers and we look forward to accelerating our development agenda together with them” said Bengt Nilsson, President and CEO, Åkers Group.

The transaction will be finalized following customary statutory approvals.

Financing and advisors
Debt financing for the transaction has been arranged by Handelsbanken in Strängnäs. Altor was advised by Handelsbanken Capital Markets and Mannheimer Swartling. STC Interfinans and Åkers were advised by Carnegie Investment Bank and Vinge.

About the Åkers Group
The Åkers Group, with net sales of EUR ~340 million and operating profit of EUR ~30 million in 2007, is the world’s leading producer of cast and forged rolls for the steel and aluminium industries. The company was founded in 1580 and roll production commenced in 1806. The company is headquartered in Åkers Styckebruk, Sweden, and has ~2000 employees at its 12 production units in 6 countries. For more information, please visit www.akersrolls.com

About Altor
The Altor funds (Altor) are private equity funds comprising the “Altor 2003 Fund”, with committed capital of EUR 650 million, and the “Altor Fund II”, with committed capital of EUR 1,150 million. Altor is advised by Altor Equity Partners. Altor invests in companies in the Nordic region with a focus on value creation through growth initiatives, strategic development and operational improvements. Among Altor’s investments are Lindorff, AGR Group (Listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange), Relacom, Ferrosan, Meyn, Aalborg Industries, PaloDEx, Navico, Byggmax, Nimbus Boats, SPT Group, PIAB, Dustin, Helly Hansen, Euro Cater, Vatus, Northstar, Wrist, Q-matic, Constructor (Aker Material Handling) and Papyrus. Prior investments include ACO Hud AB (divested to Omega Pharma) and Dynapac (divested to Atlas Copco).

About STC Interfinans
STC Interfinans is a private investment company based in Stockholm, Sweden. In addition to Åkers, STC Interfinans also operates in various industrial sectors such as real estate, forestry and fruit and vegetable distribution and processing.