EQT acquires the Plantasjen Group

EQT Northern Europe (“EQT”) has successfully finalised the negotiations to acquire the Plantasjen Group, the leading Nordic garden super-store chain. The Company’s management team will invest alongside EQT.

Plantasjen, based in Norway, with 18 outlets in Norway and 9 in Sweden, is the “category killer” in the Nordic region within the garden centre market, with a unique concept, the largest stores, broadest assortment and the lowest prices in the gardening industry. Plantasjen operates in a relatively stable industry ultimately driven by leisure trend. The Company has demonstrated an impressive sales growth of +25% on average per year since 1993, and is planning to double the number of outlets and roll out into the rest of the Nordic region in the coming five years. As part of this expansion strategy, Plantasjen recently acquired the leading gardening retail chain in
Sweden, Växus. Total sales in 2001 are expected to reach approximately NOK 850 M. Its superior concept and leading market position in Sweden and Norway will form the basis for the growth strategy going forward.

Mr. Tore Thorstensen, Managing Director of the Plantasjen Group, states in connection with reaching the agreement: “With the support of EQT, we believe that we can further develop the unique Plantasjen concept and drive the roll-out in the Nordic region. Plantasjen is currently in a very exciting phase of its development, and we are enthusiastic towards working with EQT in aggressively growing and developing the Company. As a leading private equity player, EQT will be instrumental in supporting us in the process towards a future potential listing of Plantasjen.”

Mr. Claes Dahlbäck, Chairman of the Investment Committee of EQT, adds “Plantasjen, with its impressive track-record of profitable growth and its unique concept, fits well in EQT’s strategy to invest in high-quality companies with significant growth and development potential. The Company is built on a clear vision, and we look forward to working with the management team to realise the growth potential the Company has. EQT intends to support and invest in the Company to enable a rapid rollout in the rest of the Nordic region, and to strengthen Plantsjen’s position as a leading gardening retail chain in Northern Europe.”

The agreement is subject to normal regulatory approvals.

EQT is a group of private equity funds with equity commitments exceeding EUR 3 Bn and is sponsored by Investor AB, the publicly listed holding company of the Wallenberg foundations. Since its inception in 1994, EQT has successfully concluded investments in 25 companies and made 6 exits.

EQT Partners, acting as investment advisor to all EQT funds, has offices in Stockholm, Copenhagen, Helsinki and Munich. EQT realises its business concept by acquiring and developing high-quality medium sized companies in Northern Europe. EQT serves as an active owner and works in close co-operation with the management of the companies it acquires, to develop and implement value-enhancing strategies.

For further information, please contact:

Mr. Claes Dahlbäck, Chairman of the Investment Committee,
EQT Northern Europe: +31-20-577 66 57

Mr. Tore Thorstensen, Managing Director,
The Plantasjen Group: +47-913 18 160

Mr. Juhani Mikola, Partner,
EQT Partners: +358-9-69 62 47 12

Mr. Christian Sinding, Director,
EQT Partners: +49-89-25 54 99 16

www.plantasjen.no