Swix Sport, the Norwegian sports company that markets the Swix, Ulvang, Bavac and Toko brands, has agreed to acquire Lundhags Skomakarna, the Swedish manufacturer of rugged footwear and other outdoor gear, from the EQT Opportunity Fund. The deal will be effective by mid-February.
According to Swix there will be no changes in the management of Lundhags, which will continue to be led by its chief executive, Henrik Ottosson. The operating structure, with the two offices in Stockholm and Järpen, will remain unchanged as well. In 2010, turnover of Lundhags was 110 million Swedish kronor (€12.5m-$16.0m). Besides Sweden, Lundhags' most important markets are Norway and Germany. The figures for 2011 have not been put out yet, but Ottosson expects a small increase compared with the previous year.
Ottosson ascribed the motivations to acquire Lundhags to two reasons: First, Swix wants a stronger standing in the Swedish market, even though Ottosson said that there are currently no plans to merge or integrate the Swedish operations of both companies. Second, the Lundhags deal gives a great opportunity to Swix to expand into the growing outdoor market. Currently, Swix is strong only in the snow sports sector through its eponymous brand of poles and wax and three others: Ulvang with socks, caps and underwear; Bavac (sports and leisure wear); and Toko, the wax brand that Swix acquired from Mammut Sports Group in 2010.
Lundhags' chief said that there were currently no plans to merge manufacturing facilities and/or sourcing. Ottosson did not want to rule out the notion that there might be some areas for potential cooperation, but that was certainly not the main reason for the merger since the product ranges are quite different. For example, Ulvang works with merino wool, a material that Lundhags does not use. Currently, Lundhags produces its footwear in Sweden and Portugal, its skating equipment in Sweden alone, and its backpacks and apparel in Europe and Asia. Ottosson declined to give a precise breakdown of its sales by product segment, but hinted that apparel is the largest category, closely followed by footwear.
EQT acquired Lundhags from the founding Lundhag family in 2007. For a while, EQT ran the outdoor brand through a company called Norrwin, which also comprised the apparel brands Tenson and Five Seasons. EQT divested those two years ago, leaving behind Lundhags as the only sports-related brand in EQT's portfolio.