CapMan buys Swedish fashion group

The Nordic private equity firm has made its first buyout of 2006 with the acquisition of Swedish fashion retail chain MQ.

Finland-headquartered investor CapMan has acquired a majority holding in Swedish fashion retail chain MQ for an undisclosed sum.
Göran Barsby, partner in CapMan’s buyout team, told PEO the firm purchased a majority stake of between 55 percent and 60 percent. MQ is the first transaction for CapMan’s buyout team in 2006, said Barsby.
Barsby added that the current franchise owners of MQ’s 89 stores in Sweden will retain around 30 percent of the company going forward, with the remainder held by management and Stockholm-based private equity firm RPE Capital Management.
CapMan made its investment in MQ through three vehicles: the €253 million ($310 million) CapMan Buyout VII fund; CapMan Buyout VIII, which held a first close of €312 million last November; and its €240 million CapMan Mezzanine IV fund. Barsby confirmed that CapMan Buyout VII is now fully invested.
Headquartered in Borås, MQ sells own-label as well as industry-branded fashion clothing in 89 stores across Sweden. The company employs approximately 1,000 staff and reported turnover of €170 million in 2005, an increase of 13.8 percent on 2004 figures.
Barsby said that, despite good growth and profitability, there are opportunities for further development. “It’s a well-performing business so it’s very much about strengthening the growth power in the company,” he said. “It’s not just a question of adding more stores, but, in franchises in centralised positions, much could be gained by increasing the store area.”
Headquarted in Stockholm, Sweden, CapMan currently manages €2.2 billion in assets, of which private equity accounts for €1.7 billion. The firm also has offices in Helsinki, Oslo and Copenhagen.