Altor Equity completes double

Scandinavian buyout firm Altor Equity Partners has made two investments from its debut fund, which closed on E650m earlier in the year.

Altor Equity Partners, which closed its 2003 fund on E650m in June after fundraising for just four months, has completed its second and third investments for an undisclosed sum.  

Altor has acquired Contant, a leading Finnish debt collection agency, from a consortium of owners led by Finnish private equity firm Sponsor Capital and Nordic financial services group Nordea

In a separate deal it has also acquired Lindorff, a Norwegian receivables management company, from Gjensidige, the second-largest non-life insurance company in Norway. Altor said it plans to combine Contant and Lindorff and use them as the base for a pan-Nordic platform of receivables management companies.

Details of Altor's first investment from its new fund, which was a Swedish deal, were not officially disclosed due to an agreement struck with the target company vendor.  

“Together, Contant and Lindorff are a solid foundation to build a leading provider of outsourced receivables management services in the Nordic region,” said Harald Mix, a founding partner of Altor. “Both companies have very high professional standards of customer service and a strategy to expand beyond their original markets.”

Altor's Jaakko Kivinen said the firm was already in discussions with other firms that could be added to the platform and said that the Swedish market was of particular interest. He added that Altor had faced 'limited competition' for the Contant and Lindorff transactions but had been the first firm to see the opportunity and had enjoyed a better relationship with the vendor as a result.       

Lindorff offers traditional payment and debt collection services, but has also focused on sales and customer service as well as credit and customer analysis. It serves leading Nordic companies with a particular focus on banking, insurance, oil and energy and telecommunications, as well as the public sector. The largest player in the Nordic region, it has more than 1,100 employees and expects sales of E146m in 2003.

Contant is a credit management and debt collection group in the Nordic and Baltic regions providing companies and public entities with debt collection services. Formed in Finland in 1966, it launched in Estonia in 1997, Latvia in 2000 and Lithuania and Sweden earlier this year. It has around 300 employees.

Mix, who serves as Altor’s chief investment officer, was involved in 23 buyouts at Industri Kapital from 1993 to 2002, and built a reputation for overseeing highly profitable investments. The Altor team also includes Fredrik Stromholm, a former member of Goldman Sachs’ M&A team, and Dennis Viet-Jacobsen, former with mezzanine provider Intermediate Capital Group.