InsideBusiness is once again appointing this year’s best private equity fund on behalf of 30 of the industry’s leading players.
After a somewhat dizzying start on the Danish market, Norwegian FSN Capital has gained a considerable foothold here at home. This is the conclusion of a survey of 30 leading players in private equity and mergers and acquisitions, conducted by InsideBusiness. Here, FSN, which among other things,
is the owner of Fitness World, EET and Netcompany, received almost three times as many votes as last year’s winner EQT.
The vast majority of them point out that FSN and its Managing Partner, Thomas Broe-Andersen, with the sale of Lagkagehuset and the upcoming listing of the IT comet Netcompany have gained a very strong position in the Danish market. “FSN is extremely professional in the processes they’re involved in. They work in a very structured manner and seem quite focused on what type of business they want to buy. In many ways, FSN is currently taking the place in the market that Nordic Capital had a few years ago. And then the sale of Lagkagehuset is an exit that you just have to take your hat off to,” one of the respondents said, pointing out that there are also high expectations in the market for the upcoming listing of Netcompany.
Over recent years, the company has captured terrain from the fiercest competitors, including KMD and Axcels EG A/S, and therefore, amongst FSN investors, there is great deal of confidence that the upcoming listing can provide the fund with an extremely solid return.
Several also noted that it is obvious the Norwegian fund should be invited when the industry association DVCA hands out the award for the best private equity fund of the year later today at this year’s summit at Hotel Hesselet in Nyborg.
Among others, FSN acquired Lagkagehuset and the home building company Huscompagniet, both of which ended up as extremely solid exits for the fund. In particular, the sale of the bakery chain to Nordic Capital over the summer impressed many, since FSN’s investment was initially met with great scepticism. When they bought into the company, it was a very small player with very few shops. Backed by FSN, the chain embarked on a strong expansion in Denmark and has since then gained a foothold in London.
The discipline of establishing a chain from scratch presents a lot of risk, and FSN also gained ownership of Lagkagehuset for a longer period of time than equity funds usually prefer. Nevertheless, the fund managed to sell the successful chain at a price that silenced the majority of sceptics who for many years found it extremely difficult to see the wisdom of investing in a small bakery.
In addition to Lagkagehuset, FSN is currently working on a listing of the IT company Netcompany in cooperation with FIH Partners. It is expected that within a short period of time, a consortium bank will be set up in which Danske Bank and Nordea will again be expected to compete for a key role.
With a successful acquisition of a Norwegian competitor and an EBITDA profit, which is expected to come in at over DKK 300 million for the current year, Netcompany is potentially a particularly attractive investment for even the major investors in this country, who otherwise have traditionally been very cautious with regard to companies of that size. The IT company can, however, show impressive growth, and combined with acquisitions and further organic progress in the coming years, everything indicates that Netcompany is also winding up to be a very good investment for the Norwegian fund.