EQT Scandinavia I and II Acquire the Cultor Group's Baking Division

EQT Scandinavia I and II ("EQT") have reached an agreement with the Helsinki-based Cultor Group to acquire 100% of the Group's baking division, Vaasan Baking. The agreement covers all businesses operated by Vaasan Baking.

Vaasan Baking is one of the leading baking businesses in the Nordic and the Baltic Area, focused on fresh bakery products, bake-off (frozen) products, and crispbread. Building on its strengths, such as a network of 24 local bakeries in Finland, Vaasan Baking has also succeeded in establishing a strong position in the Baltic: it holds a majority (75%) of Leibur, the number-one bakery in Estonia; as well as 51% of Hanzas Maiznica, the leading bakery in Latvia. In addition, Vaasan Baking is the world's third-largest crispbread producer.

In 1998, Vaasan Baking is estimated to generate net sales of approximately FIM 1.3 billion. The company has 3,500 employees.

The transaction value is approximately FIM 1 billion.

EQT believes that Vaasan Baking is an attractive, well-managed business with exciting prospects, in addition to strong brand names and leading market positions. This acquisition gives EQT a possibility to participate in the future growth and development of the baking business in Finland, and around the Baltic Rim.

Mr. Matti Lappalainen, Managing Director of Vaasan Baking states: "We are confident that EQT's ownership will strengthen Vaasan Baking's position as an independent and focused bakery company - with good sales and earnings growth potential. We will be committed to working with them to enhance our position both through organic growth and industry consolidation."

EQT will establish a new company, Vaasan & Vaasan Oy, to acquire Vaasan Baking, and Mr. Matti Lappalainen will be the Managing Director. Mr. Kaj Forssell (CEO of Sinebrychoff) will become the Chairman of the Board, and Mr. Bjarne Mumm (CEO of Åhléns) the Deputy Chairman.

EQT Scandinavia I (Scandinavian Equity Partners) has invested the majority of its capital commitments, which total SEK 2.9 billion, in the following companies: Sabroe Refrigeration, Perlos, Royal Scandinavia, Duni, FlexLink, Struers, TAC, StjärnTV and Ballingslöv.

Vaasan Baking is EQT Scandinavia I's second investment in Finland. In December 1996 it acquired 50% of Perlos, one of Europe's leading suppliers of precision plastic parts and electromechanical components, from G.W. Sohlberg.

EQT Scandinavia II, the successor to EQT Scandinavia I, was established in September 1998 with capital commitments of SEK 5.7 billion. The fund is sponsored by Investor AB and the US-based private equity firm, AEA Investors Inc.

EQT Partners AB, with its Danish subsidiary EQT Partners A/S, is the investment adviser to EQT Scandinavia I and II, and EQT Danmark (a buy-out fund, with total commitments of DKK 1 billion, focused on investments in smaller Danish companies).