Litorina has entered into an agreement to sell its holding in Grolls, the Nordic region’s leading specialist workwear and personal protective equipment chain. The buyer of the company is Swedol, a leading supplier of tools, personal protective equipment and consumables to professional users in Sweden and Norway.
Grolls has a long history, with the first store opening back in 1832 in Stockholm, and the Björnkläder brand was created in 1905. Today, the company is the leading specialist workwear and personal protective equipment chain in the Nordic market, with a network of 48 stores in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Estonia. In 2015, Grolls turned over more than SEK 1 billion, with an operating profit of approximately SEK 80 million. Grolls markets and sells both leading brands and its own brands within the premium segment through its network of stores and other channels. Its own brands are represented by Björnkläder, Univern and Nytello.
Litorina took over as majority owner of Grolls in 2010, and to date Grolls has grown from 25 stores to a total of 48 through both acquisitions and new store openings. During the same period, sales have doubled from approximately SEK 500 million to more than SEK 1 billion. Grolls expanded its range of lightweight workwear in 2011 through the acquisition of the Nytello brand, and in 2012 Univern – Norway’s biggest specialist chain, with 11 stores – was also acquired.
“When we decided to invest in Grolls, we saw an extremely well-managed Swedish company with its own strong workwear brand (Björnkläder), where skilled management had started the strategic journey of focusing on sales to small and medium-sized companies through a network of its own stores,” says Lars Verneholt, Partner at Litorina Capital Advisors AB, investment advisors to the Litorina Kapital III fund. “It was also clear that there was the exciting potential to grow further in a fragmented market, with the chain’s own stores in Sweden, Norway and Finland. We are incredibly proud of Grolls’ growth during our time as principal owner, having doubled its number of stores, turnover and profits. Today, Grolls is the Nordic region’s leading specialist workwear and protective equipment chain. Swedol taking over ownership of Grolls feels like a logical deal and an exciting combination, with great opportunities for Grolls’ continued growth.”
“Grolls has enjoyed fantastic growth during the years of Litorina’s ownership,” adds Peter Haveneth, CEO of Grolls. “We are now entering the next phase of Grolls’ development, which will include continued expansion in both existing markets and new markets where there is great potential to acquire or establish more stores. It is therefore particularly exciting to be continuing the company’s development together with Swedol.”
The deal is conditional on approval from the competition authorities, and is expected to be completed during summer 2016.
Handelsbanken Capital Markets has acted as financial advisors, with Vinge providing legal advice and PwC providing advisory analysis services for the sellers in the transaction.
For further information, please contact:
Lars Verneholt, +46 8 545 180 11, Partner, Litorina Capital Advisors AB
Peter Haveneth, +46 31 742 16 04, CEO, the Grolls Group
Grolls was founded in 1832, and markets and sells workwear and personal protective equipment primarily via its specialist stores in the Nordic region, as well as via independent retailers, direct to end-customers, through selected export channels and online. Grolls sells products from its own leading brands within the premium segment (Björnkläder, Univern and Nytello) via all channels. Grolls currently has around 30,000 customers, mainly small and medium-sized companies within industry and the construction sector, but also sells to municipal and public administration customers. In 2015, Grolls turned over just over SEK 1 billion. For more information, see www.grolls.se.
Litorina was founded in 1998, and focuses on acquiring and industrially developing primarily Swedish companies together with their management. Litorina offers broad and deep expertise both via its own organisation and through its network of industrial advisors. Litorina is backed by a number of venerable and reputable institutions who have together invested approximately SEK 4.8 billion in Litorina’s four funds. For more information, see www.litorina.se.
Swedol was founded in 1963, and is a leading retailer and distributor of high-quality goods to professional customers within four main sectors: haulage and transport, building and construction, industry and engineering, and agriculture and forestry. Swedol currently has 49 stores, five of which are in Norway. The company has around 300 employees, with a turnover of approximately SEK 1.5 billion in 2015. Swedol’s B shares are listed on NASDAQ Stockholm’s Small Cap list. For more information, see www.swedol.se.