October 22, 2012 – Swedish company AB Gustaf Kähr (“Kährs”) and Finnish company Karelia‐Upofloor Oy (“Karelia‐Upofloor) today announces a merger of the two companies, creating Europe’s leading producer of wood floors. The new company will be market leader in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia, and will hold strong positions in other important markets such as England and Germany. The new company will have revenues of around 300 million euro.
“This is a strategic combination where we bring two companies together with complementary products and geographies. Together we will become a leading company within our segment in Europe and Russia”, said Christer Persson, CEO Kährs.
“In a fragmented market currently characterised by uncertainty, this is a good opportunity to improve our market presence. Together, Kährs and Karelia‐Upofloor are better suited to compete in a challenging market environment”, said Peter Therman, CEO Karelia‐Upofloor.
”It is with great satisfaction we see a merger of Kährs and Karelia‐Upofloor since the industrial logic is very compelling. We are now creating a strong floor producer with exciting future prospects”, says Sven‐Gunnar Schough, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Kährs.
The new company will have a strong portfolio of market leading brands within wood and plastic floors such as Kährs in Sweden and Karelia and Upofloor in Finland and Russia. Together, the two companies will be able to provide their customers with a broader range of products through an increased number of complementary sales channels. Through a broadened sales network, the company will also be closer to its customers in several countries.
CEO of the new merged company will be Christer Persson who has been CEO for Kährs since 2012. He was previously a member of group management of the Swedish bed manufacturer Hilding Anders International.
Kährs’ principal owner, Triton Fund III, will be majority owner in the new merged company. Karelia‐Upofloor’s current owner, the Finnish family‐owned investment company Hartwall Capital, will be the second largest owner followed by the management.
The merger is conditional upon approval by the relevant competition authorities.
Kährs, established in 1857, is one of Europe’s oldest and leading wood floor manufacturers with a brand that is recognized globally. The main part of the production is multi layer parquet, one of the company’s innovations that has become an industry standard. The main market is Europe, however the company is active on more than 50 markets around the world and has own sales companies in 10 countries. Kährs has two production facilities in Sweden, net sales in 2011 was EUR 160 million, and the group employs 850 persons.
Karelia‐Upofloor Oy is one of Europe’s leading flooring producers and an internationally recognised expert in its field. The main products are hardwood and resilient floorings. The group’s market areas are Finland and the Baltic Countries, Russia and CIS countries, Scandinavia, and International Projects. The group has four production facilities in Finland, as well as factories in Russia and Romania. Net sales in 2011 were EUR 122 million, and the group employs 800 persons.
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