IK acquires Wehkamp, Transfair from GUS

The Nordic-based private equity firm has completed its sixth deal in the Benelux region, acquiring two subsidiaries from the retail multinational.

European private equity firm Industri Kapital has acquired home shopping firm Wehkamp and credit management firm Transfair – both based in the Netherlands – from UK retail group GUS for €340 million ($413 million).

Industri Kapital committed capital from its IK 2000 Fund, which is now almost fully invested, according to Kristiaan Nieuwenburg, partner at Industri Kapital. Completion of the deal is expected in December.

“We know the home shopping, consumer credit and debt collection markets through earlier acquisitions such as [Nordic home shopping firm] Ellos and [Swedish debt collection and credit management company] Intrum Justitia,” Nieuwenburg told PEO. “Wehkamp is the market leader in the Netherlands, and is at the forefront of transforming old fashioned retailing into multi-channel retail. [The company] already generates more than 50 percent of its revenues through the internet.”

The acquisition is Industri Kapital’s sixth investment in the Benelux region, with two Dutch firms remaining in the firm’s portfolio: Welzorg, a mobility aids distributor, acquired from UBS Capital in December 2002 for €174 million; and Continental Bakeries, a private label biscuit manufacturer, acquired from Hillsdown Holdings in February 1999 for €166 million.

In July of this year, Industri Kapital sold Netherlands-based Fortex, an industrial laundry business, to ABN AMRO Capital for €64 million.

The sale of Wehkamp is part London-listed retail group GUS’s strategy to exit from its European home shopping operations. Established in 1952, Wehkamp has 1.4 million regular customers and net book assets of approximately €340 million. Transfair, established in 1972, is one of the top three independent credit management companies in the Netherlands, according to Industri Kapital.

Industri Kapital manages close to €4 billion in fund commitments, and is currently investing from its Industri Kapital 2004 Fund, which closed on €825 million in February of this year. The firm has offices in London, Stockholm, Hamburg and Oslo.