Altor Fund II divests majority stake in Helly Hansen to OTPP

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Altor Fund II (“Altor”) has signed an agreement to sell a majority stake in Helly Hansen Group AS to Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board (“OTPP”) and will retain 25% ownership.

Headquartered in Norway, Helly Hansen designs, develops and markets stylish and high performance technical apparel. Helly Hansen currently operates three divisions; Sport Wholesale, Sport Retail and Workwear. In 2011 the company had revenues of NOK 1,576 million.

Since Altor’s acquisition in 2006 Helly Hansen has improved profitability from loss making to industry leading margins. The company has expanded its geographic footprint and developed new product categories, leading to double digit growth in recent years and significantly outperforming the market.  To focus the business on Sport and Workwear, the professional business, mainly providing helicopter transportation suits, was sold to Montagu Private Equity in 2011.

“Our people at Helly Hansen have worked very hard to rebuild its position as one of the world’s leading outdoor brands.  We are proud of what Helly Hansen has become, and excited about where we can take it going forward.  Getting OTPP on board as majority owners will provide us with expertise, global relationships and financial resources to further grow the company, especially in North America.  Our ambition to become ‘a billion dollar brand’ remains”, says Peter Sjölander, CEO of Helly Hansen Group.

“Helly Hansen is part of our Norwegian heritage, and it has been a privilege to work with the company over the last 6 years, seeing the brand reconnect with its roots, the product portfolio improving every season and the operation develop into one of a world class apparel company.  Helly Hansen is now well positioned to leverage its 135 year history for continued growth”, says Hugo Maurstad, Chairman of Helly Hansen Group AS and Partner at Altor Equity Partners.

“Helly Hansen has been a good investment for Altor, but we believe that the positive momentum will continue and that we will experience continued growth in the years to come.  The company has a strong platform, a clear strategy and a strong management team. Altor is therefore very happy to continue with ownership and involvement together with OTPP, says Reynir Indahl, board member of Helly Hansen Group AS and Partner at Altor Equity Partners.

Advisors to Altor in the transaction were ABG Sundal Collier, Robert W Baird, Wiersholm and PwC.