Altor becomes Ferrosan’s new principal shareholder – continued focus on growth

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The Nordic investment fund Altor 2003 Fund is acquiring 70 per cent of the shares in Ferrosan, and management is becoming a co-owner of the company. Idosan, the former principal shareholder, will retain 30 per cent of the shares. Novo Nordisk is selling its shares in Ferrosan.

Following several years of strong performance, the healthcare and medical devices company Ferrosan is well positioned to further boost its growth. The new principal shareholder, the Altor 2003 Fund, and the company’s management see Ferrosan as an attractive platform within the health and dietary supplements sector. With the new shareholder structure Ferrosan will have access to significant financial resources going forward.
At the same time, Altor supports Ferrosan’s established strategy of strong organic growth through increased international sales of well-known brands such as Imedeen and Multi-tabs.
Together with the company’s management, the Altor 2003 Fund acquires approximately 70 per cent of the shares. Idosan, Ferrosan’s principal shareholder since 1995, will be participating in the company’s continued development with 30 per cent of the shares. Novo Nordisk, which up to now has owned 30 per cent of Ferrosan, has decided to sell its shares as Ferrosan is outside its strategic focus.

Håkan Åström will be replacing Sonnich Fryland as chairman of the board of directors. Håkan Åström has more than 30 years’ experience with the companies Baxter, Astra and Pharmacia. Recently he has been a member of Pharmacia’s corporate management and is also chairman of the board of Biovitrum AB and member of the board of Scandinavian Life Science Venture AB. Ferrosan’s management and employees will continue under the new ownership.
The Altor 2003 Fund, which is an investment fund with Nordic focus, was founded in 2003 and has committed capital of DKK 4.8 billion. Its investors include Skandia Liv, Länsförsäkringar Liv, Nordea, Harvard, Princeton and Standard Life. Altor’s business concept is to be an active owner of medium-sized companies generating long-term value through expansion and fundamental improvements.

A well-oiled machine
“We regard Ferrosan as a well-oiled machine – a well-run, efficient company with a sound strategy and good visions. In recent years the management has significantly increased both sales and earnings by focusing on well-known and well-documented products. Altor sees considerable potential for growth,” states partner Fredrik Strömholm from Altor.

“Ferrosan has a unique business model that we look forward to develop in cooperation with management and employees. Altor regards Ferrosan as a perfect platform in the health, dietary supplements and medical devices sectors. The fact that the former principal shareholder, Idosan, remains as an owner is a strong signal of continuity,” says Hans-Christian Bødker Jensen, director at Altor.

Potential for stronger growth
“The change in ownership is a compliment to all of Ferrosan’s employees for their outstanding efforts,” says CEO Niels de Coninck-Smith. “With Altor we are gaining a principal shareholder with a very positive reputation thanks to its strong investment team with many years’ experience of investing in and developing companies. Altor’s team has also made a number of investments in our industry, most recently in ACO Hud, and previously – before the formation of Altor – in Nycomed.
Altor provides Ferrosan with additional resources, which will allow the company to increase the rate of the growth plans that we already have in place,” says Niels de Coninck-Smith.

Smooth change in ownership
Sonnich Fryland says on behalf of Idosan:
“Ferrosan is getting a new principal shareholder with impressive financial experience. Altor can also provide extra analytical strength with regard to business development, and Ferrosan can make use of a strong international network. Many have courted Ferrosan, but the old owners have been in no hurry to sell. From several options, we have chosen the solution that best ensures continued growth in a well-trimmed company and contributes to a smooth change in ownership.
Novo Nordisk wishes to focus on the group’s own main products. The fact that Idosan is continuing with a significant ownership share is a signal to both the outside world and the employees that we believe in Ferrosan’s prospects.”
CV for Håkan Åström, Ferrosan’s chairman of the board Håkan Åström was born in 1947. He is an honorary doctor with a Dr.Med.h.c. Sahlgrenska Akademin from Gøteborg University in 2003 and a Master of Science degree in Business Administration and Economics from the Stockholm School of Economics in 1972. Håkan Åström began his career in the pharmaceutical industry in 1972 with the former Astra AB in Sweden, where he served in various positions including Sales Manager and Marketing Director.
From 1979 to 1984, Håkan Åström was General Manager at Travenol (Baxter) in Sweden. In 1984, he moved to Astra Pharmaceuticals Ltd. UK, where he was Managing Director until 1988. He then joined Kabi Vitrum AB as Executive Vice President, President Kabi Nutrition and President Kabi Biopharma.

In 1990, Håkan Åström was appointed Executive Vice President of Kabi Pharmacia AB, and in 1992 he became President and CEO of the company. From 1994 to 2003, Håkan Åström was Senior Vice President of Pharmacia AB, Pharmacia & Upjohn and Pharmacia Corporation with responsibility for Corporate Strategy and Corporate Affairs. From 1998 he was also Chairman and Managing Director of Pharmacia AB.
Håkan Åström is currently chairman of the boards of Biolipox AB and Orexo AB and Biovitrum AB. He is also a board member of Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm and Topotarget AS.