Ahlsell, the Stockholm-based wholesaler of installation-related products to various industry sectors including plumbing and heating, is being sold by Nordic Capital to rival private equity firms Cinven and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners.
The consideration for the deal was not officially disclosed, but it is understood to be around €1.3 billion ($1.5 billion), which would make it the second-largest buyout in the Nordic region. According to Dealogic figures, the largest deal was the $2.3 billion acquisition of property group Tornet by Swedish private equity firm Ratos and Lehman Brothers Real Estate Partners in 2003.
Nordic Capital partner Ulf Rosberg said the firm had taken the unusual step of syndicating €1 billion of senior and mezzanine debt a month prior to the business being sold rather than, as would normally be the case, at the same time or after the sale of equity. Nordic was able to pay itself a dividend from the proceeds of the debt refinancing.
Rosberg declined to disclose the return that Nordic Capital achieved on the deal, but claimed it was “very, very good”.
Ahlsell was acquired from the firm’s third fund, which is now fully invested, in 1999. Over the last six years, Ahlsell has made 16 acquisitions – in the process expanding its geographic footprint into Denmark, Finland, Norway and Russia, as well as into new industries such as tools and machinery and DIY.
Rosberg suggested that company could continue to make add-on acquisitions in the years ahead, saying that the new owners “can fill in the gaps”.