EQT sells Plantasjen to Apax

EQT III (”EQT”) is selling Plantasjen to funds managed by Apax Partners (“Apax”), after tripling the company’s sales under EQT’s ownership.

EQT acquired Plantasjen in October 2001. The company has since then entered the Swedish and Finnish market, established a total of 45 new stores and is today the leading Nordic super centre chain with 72 stores in Norway, Sweden and Finland. In parallel, a development program encompassing efficiency and organization-related initiatives has been implemented.

These measures have led to strong growth and increased earnings. Plantasjen’s sales increased threefold from NOK 840 million in 2001 to approximately NOK 2 500 million as expected in 2006, and in the same period EBITDA increased from approximately NOK 100 million to well over NOK 300 million.

The company’s stores provide a wide assortment covering the customers’ entire needs for garden and terrace products as well as decorative flowers and in-house plants. Plantasjen’s outlets are based on a well-established concept that focuses on customer experience, easy access, high capacity and competitive prices.

“During EQT’s ownership Plantasjen has evolved into the leading Nordic garden centre thanks to an aggressive rollout strategy, focus on operational excellence, development of the organization as well as clear corporate governance. Plantasjen’s management supported by the Board as led by Chairman Tore Thorstensen, have delivered results above EQT’s expectations”, said Christian Sinding, Partner at EQT Partners, who advises EQT’s funds.

“EQT established a clear growth strategy in connection to the acquisition 2001 that we have subsequently followed. We highly appreciate Apax as new owners of Plantasjen as they intend to support the strategy of the company entering into new geographical markets. We look forward to continue capitalizing on our attractive future growth opportunities”, said Håkan Eriksson, CEO of Plantasjen.

The sale is conditional on approval by the relevant competition authorities.

Merrill Lynch and SEB Enskilda acted as financial advisors and Steenstrup Stordrange as legal advisor to EQT and Plantasjen on this transaction.

Contacts:
Christian Sinding, Partner,
+46 8 506 55 336, christian.sinding@eqt.se

Johan Hähnel, Communications & PR,
+46 706 056 334, johan.hahnel@eqt.se