29 March 2019

Litorina sells Fresks Group to Kesko

Litorina has signed an agreement to divest Fresks Group, Sweden’s fastest-growing builders’ merchant. The purchaser is Kesko, one of the leading players within building and technical trade in northern Europe. Fresks Group will be the platform for Kesko’s venture in the B2B segment within building material supply in Sweden.

Fresks Group was founded in 1862 in Östersund and is today a leading Swedish builders’ merchant, where customers are small and medium-size companies. The company has 33 centres around Sweden and offers customers a broad and deep range of quality products in building material, hardware and paint with a high degree of service.

Litorina acquired a majority in Fresks Group in February 2016 in partnership with the former owners the Oscarson family and CEO Leif Lindholm and key employees. Since Litorina’s entry as principal owner, the group has grown from a turnover of approximately SEK 850 million to today’s approximately SEK 2,100 million pro forma with strengthened profitability. This growth has been generated through both acquisition of 19 centres, 2 greenfield establishments and strong organic growth where Fresks Group has strengthened its regional market shares.

“When we chose to invest in Fresks Group, we saw a very well-managed company with clear leadership and a strong culture. Fresks Group was a regional market leader in Norrrland and we saw an opportunity to accelerate the consolidation journey that the company had begun in the fragmented Swedish market. We are today extremely proud of the development Fresks Group has seen during Litorina’s time as principal owner, where the company has almost tripled its turnover and at the same time succeeded in strengthening its profitability. Fresks Group has developed from being a regional market leader to become one of Sweden’s biggest builders’ merchants. The company, with its management team and CEO Leif Lindholm at the helm, has together with all the talented entrepreneurs who had joined the group done a fantastic job,” says Lars Verneholt, Partner at Litorina Capital Advisors AB, investment advisor to the Litorina IV fund.

“We have confidence in now allowing a well-reputed player like Kesko to take over the baton as Fresks Groups’ new owner and create a strategic combination that significantly strengthens Kesko’s position in the Swedish market and not least in the professional customer segment. It will be exciting to follow the company as it continues to advance under Kesko’s management,” Lars Verneholt goes on.

“When I became Fresks Groups’ CEO in 2009, the company consisted of five centres. We made our first acquisition in 2011 and three years later we acquired our local colleague Gärdin & Persson with its 4 centres. When Litorina later stepped in as principal owner, the tempo increased still further as we went from 12 to 33 centres in under three years. It has been a totally incredible journey with Litorina. At the same time, I would also like to pay tribute to all our fantastic employees who every day do that little bit extra for our customers, which has been Fresks Groups’ recipe for success throughout the years. Now I am looking forward to the next chapter in the company’s story with Kesko as its new owner. It will give me great pleasure to continue to develop the group and strengthen its position in the Swedish market together with our people and Kesko,” says Fresks Group’s CEO Leif Lindholm.

The deal is conditional upon approval by the Swedish Competition Authority.

Carnegie, Vinge and PwC were advisors to the sellers in the transaction.

 

For further information, please contact:

Lars Verneholt, +46 733 86 92 07, Partner, Litorina Capital Advisors AB

Leif Lindholm, +46 706 98 27 00, CEO, Fresks Group AB

Fresks Group, founded in 1862, is a leading Swedish builders’ merchant. The company has 33 centres around Sweden today and offers customers a broad and deep range of quality products in building material, hardware and paint with a high degree of service. The group, which has its headquarters in Östersund, today has a turnover of approximately SEK 2,100 million pro forma and has approximately 500 employees. For more information, please see www.fresks.se

Litorina, founded in 1998, focuses on acquiring and industrially developing companies together with their leading managers. 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 long-term, well-reputed institutions who have together invested approximately SEK 8 billion in Litorina’s five funds. For more information, please see www.litorina.se

Kesko is a Finnish trading sector pioneer operating in the grocery trade, the building and technical trade and the car trade. The group’s operations comprise some 1,800 stores in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus and Poland. Kesko and the K-retailers form K Group, whose sales (pro forma) totalled approximately €13 billion in 2018. K Group is the biggest trading sector operator in Finland and one of the biggest Northern Europe and employs some 41,000 people. For more information, please see www.kesko.fi/en/