KappAhl to be acquired by new owners

The Swedish Cooperative Union (KF) today announced the sale of fashion retail chain KappAhl to Nordic Capital and Accent Equity Partners for 1.95 billion Swedish kronor. Nordic Capital will be KappAhl´s majority shareholder.

KappAhl is one of Sweden´s leading fashion retailers, with 240 store locations in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Poland and 3,300 employees. Since its inception in 1953 KappAhl has provided affordable fashions to many people, primarily women between 30 and 50 and their families.

In recent years KappAhl has reversed a negative earnings trend by trimming its business and merchandise assortment, focusing on its core demographic and slashing costs. In 2003 KappAhl reported revenues of 3.8 billion Swedish kronor and operating earnings of 120 million Swedish kronor.

"In 2001 a strategy was crafted aimed at transforming KF from a weak and debt-ridden association to a strong and debt-free organization whose main purpose is to support the development and renewal of Swedish consumer cooperative FMCG retailing. The divestment of KappAhl marks the completion of these strategic aims," says Börje Fors, President and CEO, KF.

"KappAhl has reversed a negative performance trend and demonstrated its ability to generate profits. KappAhl is a leading fashion retailer, whose business is focused on the female demographic. As a standalone company its position can be further strengthened. When it comes to committed ownership we have extensive experience in an array of industries. We have financial resources and industrial know-how needed to evolve KappAhl´s business going forward," says Bo Söderberg, Partner, Nordic Capital.

"This is great news for KappAhl. This move gives us the opportunity and ability to grow from an independent platform," says Christian W. Jansson, CEO of KappAhl.

The Swedish Cooperative Union´s members comprise a major and consequential portion of KappAhl's customer base. The Coop MedMera card will continue to be accepted at all KappAhl locations.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval in relevant countries (Sweden, Norway, Finland and Poland).

Börje Fors, President and CEO, KF, +46 8-743 26 70 
Gunilla Dahlqvist, chief press officer, KF, +46 8-743 26 60, +46 707-940940
Bo Söderberg, Partner, Nordic Capital, +46 8-440 50 50
Christian W. Jansson, CEO, KappAhl, +46 708-16 02 20

KappAhl is one of the Nordic region´s leading fashion retailers, with 240 store locations in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Poland and 3,300 employees. KappAhl is headquartered in Mölndal, outside Gothenburg, Sweden. KappAhl was founded in 1953 and acquired by KF in 1990. Visit www.kappahl.com for more information about KappAhl.

The Swedish Cooperative Union (KF) is the member association for Sweden´s 60 consumer associations and their 2.9 million members. KF is the parent company of KF Group and its subsidiaries: KappAhl, KF Fastigheter, KF Media (including Akademibokhandeln, publishing group P.A. Norstedt & Söner, Bokus, Pan Vision and Tidningen Vi), KF Invest, MedMera, Vår Gård Kursgården, KF Föreningsrevision and KF Försäkring. Coop Norden - which in Sweden operates the Coop Konsum, Coop Forum, Coop Extra and Coop Nära chains - is owned jointly by KF and the Danish and Norwegian consumer cooperatives. Other Sweden-based consumer cooperative FMCG retailing is owned and operated by the respective consumer associations. Visit www.kf.se for more information about KF.

Nordic Capital is a leading private equity firm focusing on investments in the Nordic middle-market arena. The firm has a strong investment track record, an extensive network of contacts and firsthand knowledge of local industries and business practices. Nordic Capital has 21 billion Swedish kronor under management. Since its inception in 1989, Nordic Capital has invested in more than 50 Nordic-based companies operating in a range of segments and sectors. Nordic Capital´s proven investment strategy creates value by actively implementing key value drivers, such as new industrial combinations, strategic repositioning and internationalization. A range of leading Nordic and international institutions are invested in Nordic Capital funds. Visit www.nordiccapital.com for more information about Nordic Capital.

Accent Equity Partners is a leading private equity mid-cap partnership in the Nordic region, managing over 500 million euros, of which approximately 200 million is currently available for new investments. 20 international financial institutions are among Accent´s investors. The investors come from the Nordic countries as well as from England, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Switzerland, Luxemburg, and the US. Since the mid-1990s, Accent Equity Partners has managed 6 funds and carried out 50 investments and 30 exits. Accent Equity Partners´ investments cover a vast span of industries. Visit www.accentequity.se for more information about Accent Equity Partners.