HL Display acquires CoolPresentation to improve market position in the Netherlands

Ratos

HL Display is acquiring CoolPresentation, a provider of shelf merchandising solutions for grocery retail in the Netherlands. The acquisition will strengthen HL’s customer base and position as a leading supplier for in-store merchandising and communication solutions to grocery retailers in Europe.

HL Display is strengthening its market position through the acquisition of CoolPresentation, a provider of shelf merchandising solutions based in Heerenveen, the Netherlands. The company has an annual sale of around €4m. Founded in 1997, CoolPresentation has built a strong position in Dutch retail, providing high quality products and service levels to both grocery retail, pharmacies and brand suppliers.

“Since the founding in 1997, CoolPresentation has grown into a well-established supplier of shelf merchandising in Dutch food retail,” says Björn Borgman, CEO of HL Display. “Their passion for retail and excellent service levels make CoolPresentation a perfect fit for HL. Furthermore, merging both companies’ product ranges will create a strong offer to an expanded customer base which will support our market position as a leading supplier of in-store communication and merchandising solutions for the grocery industry.”

“With the acquisition of the CoolPresentation we gain access to new customers in the Netherlands and consolidate the market further enabling both production and other synergies. The acquisition is another step in HLs journey to further strengthen its market leadership position across Europe, with both organic and inorganic growth,” says Joakim Twetman, Head of Business Area Industry, Ratos.

The acquisition was completed on 1st of April 2021.

For further information, please contact:
Joakim Twetman, Head of Business Area Industry, Ratos
+46 70 339 16 66
joakim.twetman@ratos.com

Björn Borgman, CEO, HL Display
+46 722 64 17 90
Bjorn.Borgman@hl-display.com

 

About HL Display:
HL Display is a global leader in in-store merchandising and communication solutions, helping customers to create a better shopping experience around the world. Founded in 1954, HL today is present in more than 70 countries and solutions can be found in 295,000 stores, helping customers to grow sales, inspire shoppers, drive automation, and reduce waste. The HL Display Group has its headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden and sales companies covering 26 markets as well as distributor partners covering the remaining markets globally. The company has 1,000 employees and net sales of 1,520 MSEK.

About Ratos:
Ratos is a business group consisting of 11 companies divided into three business areas: Construction & Services, Consumer & Technology and Industry. In total, the companies have SEK 33 billion in sales. Our business concept is to develop companies headquartered in the Nordics that are or can become market leaders. We enable independent companies to excel by being part of something larger. People, leadership, culture and values are key focus areas for Ratos. Everything we do is based on Ratos’s core values: Simplicity, Speed in Execution and It’s All About People.

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KKR and Rakuten Complete Seiyu Share Purchase from Walmart

KKR
March 1, 2021

Shareholders Officially Confirm Mr. Tsuneo Okubo as Seiyu CEO

TOKYO & BENTONVILLE, Ark.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– KKR, Rakuten, Inc., (“Rakuten”) and Walmart Inc. (“Walmart”) today announced that KKR and Rakuten subsidiary, Rakuten DX Solution, have completed their previously announced share purchases in Seiyu GK (“Seiyu” or the “Company”) from Walmart.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210228005079/en/

With the completion of the transactions, KKR owns a 65% stake in Seiyu and Rakuten DX Solution owns a 20% stake in the Company. Walmart retains a 15% stake in Seiyu. KKR is making its investment from its Asia private equity fund.

The new ownership structure enables Seiyu to take advantage of KKR, Rakuten and Walmart’s combined retail expertise and innovation, in addition to accelerating Seiyu’s digital transformation to become Japan’s leading omnichannel retailer.

KKR, Rakuten and Walmart are committed to supporting Seiyu’s growth and long-term strategy in Japan and look to build on Seiyu’s success as a local-value retailer of choice. In 2020, Seiyu achieved its highest sales and profitability levels of the last decade, with net sales growing by 5.6% to JPY785 billion1. This generated an EBITDA2 margin of nearly 5%. Over the past two consecutive fiscal years, Seiyu gained market share and improved profitability. Cumulatively over this period, Seiyu comparative-store sales grew 180 basis points faster than the market3 and EBITDA increased by nearly 40%. In addition, Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper, jointly operated by Seiyu and Rakuten, recorded a nearly 40% year-on-year increase in gross merchandise sales in the fourth quarter of 2020. With the significant increase in demand for online supermarkets in recent years, a dedicated fulfillment center began operations in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture in January 2021, and a new fulfillment center is scheduled to open in Ibaraki, Osaka Prefecture within the year to meet this growing demand.

Today, the shareholders additionally confirmed the appointment of Mr. Tsuneo Okubo as CEO of Seiyu to lead the Company into its next phase of development and growth, effective immediately. Mr. Okubo’s decades-long career in Japan’s retail sector includes senior roles for national supermarket chains. He brings to Seiyu a strong track record of elevating corporate strategies and performance through digital innovation, enhancing the operations of physical stores, and localizing businesses to meet the evolving needs of shoppers in communities across Japan.

Mr. Okubo said, “I am thrilled to be joining Seiyu at such an important moment in its history. Together with KKR, Rakuten and Walmart, we have a tremendous opportunity to build on Seiyu’s achievements and stature in the market to take its business to the next level of success. Looking ahead, we are excited to accelerate Seiyu’s digital transformation to better meet the evolving shopping needs of our customers while continuing to expand on strong in-store presence in communities across Japan. I want to thank my predecessor, Lionel Desclée, for his leadership, and I look forward to working with our talented team of associates to build on Seiyu’s progress to become Japan’s leading omnichannel retailer.”

About Seiyu:

Established in 1963, Seiyu is a nationwide supermarket chain in Japan with more than 300 retail units. Through its supermarket and hypermarket formats and Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper delivery service, Seiyu offers customers a broad assortment including fresh food, general merchandise, and apparel products across Japan from Hokkaido to Kyushu. Offering Everyday Low Prices to our customers, Seiyu contributes to making their everyday life more convenient as a leading, innovative, local value retailer, now powered by KKR, Rakuten and Walmart.

About KKR:

KKR is a leading global investment firm that offers alternative asset management and capital markets and insurance solutions. KKR aims to generate attractive investment returns by following a patient and disciplined investment approach, employing world-class people, and supporting growth in its portfolio companies and communities. KKR sponsors investment funds that invest in private equity, credit and real assets and has strategic partners that manage hedge funds. KKR’s insurance subsidiaries offer retirement, life, and reinsurance products under the management of The Global Atlantic Financial Group. References to KKR’s investments may include the activities of its sponsored funds and insurance subsidiaries. For additional information about KKR & Co. Inc. (NYSE: KKR), please visit KKR’s website at www.kkr.com and on Twitter @KKR_Co.

About Rakuten:

Rakuten, Inc. (TSE: 4755) is a global leader in internet services that empower individuals, communities, businesses, and society. Founded in Tokyo in 1997 as an online marketplace, Rakuten has expanded to offer services in e-commerce, fintech, digital content and communications to approximately 1.4 billion members around the world. The Rakuten Group has over 20,000 employees, and operations in 30 countries and regions. For more information visit https://global.rakuten.com/corp/.

About Rakuten DX Solution:

Rakuten DX Solution is a new Rakuten Group subsidiary established in January 2021 to support the digital transformation of brick-and-mortar retailers across Japan and to promote the merger of offline and online retail (OMO) in order to serve customers with a seamless and personalized retail experience.

About Walmart:

Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere – in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, approximately 220 million customers and members visit approximately 10,500 stores and clubs under 48 banners in 24 countries and eCommerce websites. With fiscal year 2021 revenue of $559 billion, Walmart employs over 2.2 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting corporate.walmart.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at twitter.com/walmart.

 


1 As of Fiscal Year 2020, ending December 31, 2020
2 EBITDA = Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortization.
3 According to data compiled by the Japan Supermarket Association, National Supermarket Association of Japan and the All Japan Supermarket Association.

Seiyu
Corporate Affairs +813-3598-7760

KKR
KKR Asia Pacific
Anita Davis
+852 3602 7335
Anita.Davis@kkr.com

Finsbury (for KKR Japan)
Deborah Hayden, +81 70 2492 0463
Hannah Perry, +81 70 3769 9633
FinsburyKKRJapan@finsbury.com

KKR Americas
Kristi Huller, Cara Major, Miles Radcliffe-Trenner
+1 212 750-8300
Media@kkr.com

Rakuten, Inc.
Corporate Communications Department
global-pr@mail.rakuten.com

Walmart
Blake Jackson
+1 479 204-1028
blake.jackson@walmart.com

Source: KKR, Rakuten, Inc.

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Consortium of Parcom and Mississippi Ventures reaches final agreement on acquisition HEMA

Parcom

Today, the consortium consisting of Parcom and Mississippi Ventures, together with HEMA and HEMA Secured Bondholders , announce that they have reached a final agreement on the acquisition of all outstanding shares of HEMA. On October 21, the parties announced a preliminary agreement. It stipulated that the consortium was allowed to conduct due diligence investigations on an exclusive basis and to secure financing by Dutch banks. These steps have now been completed to satisfaction of all parties involved. The HEMA Works Council has rendered a positive advice about the agreement. The capital structure will be submitted to the Works Council for their advice. Competition approval will also be sought from the relevant authorities. Parties expect to complete the transaction in February 2021, after which HEMA will share plans for a healthy future under the new ownership.

Tjeerd Jegen, HEMA: “Today’s announcement is a major milestone for HEMA, as the bank financing was a crucial condition for the successful conclusion of the acquisition. When we finalize the transaction early 2021, we will not only have a healthy financial situation with a significantly decreased debt level and ample room to invest in our future development, but we will also have very supportive new long term owners providing HEMA with a stable operating platform going forward. We look forward to this next stage in the development of HEMA, and are confident that this transaction is in the best interest of all our stakeholders. With this agreement we can once again fully focus on the future, and on delivering fantastic products to our customers.”

Frits van Eerd, Mississippi Ventures: “We are proud to be given the opportunity to acquire the beautiful, Dutch company HEMA. And we particularly appreciate the support of the three major Dutch banks ABN AMRO, ING and Rabobank in this transaction. Together we will prepare HEMA for a new phase, while retaining the special character of the brand and the people: good value for money, the appealing atmosphere and the signature design. We realize that we are in uncertain times, but we are convinced of a bright future for HEMA and we are incredibly excited to be part of this.”

Bas Becks, Parcom: “The resilience and perseverance of HEMA employees over the past period deserves nothing but praise and appreciation. We are incredibly proud to be part of HEMA’s future. We have come to this agreement at a pivotal time for HEMA. Together with the Van Eerd family, we will do our utmost to support the brand and the people of HEMA, continuing to build on a solid foundation.”

Calmer waters
Parcom and Mississippi Ventures emphasize that they have great appreciation for the drive of HEMA management, until recently together with Ramphastos Investments of Marcel Boekhoorn, leading its retail operations through very turbulent times. The discussions about the proposed share transaction between Parcom, Mississippi Ventures and HEMA took place in a positive and constructive atmosphere. All stakeholders expect HEMA to enter into calmer waters soon, so that the company can achieve further healthy growth.

For further information or enquiries, please contact:
On behalf of the consortium of Parcom and Mississippi Ventures:

On behalf of Mississippi Ventures
• Claire Trügg
• Phone: +31623403457
• E-mail: claire.trugg@jumbo.com

On behalf of Parcom
• Sabine Post-de Jong
• Phone: +31639576367
• E-mail: sabine.post@confidantpartners.com

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KKR and Rakuten to Acquire Stakes in Seiyu from Walmart, Focus on Accelerating Digital Transformation of Japanese Retail: Seiyu Positioned to Become Japan’s Leading Omnichannel Retailer

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KKR

November 15, 2020

  • KKR to purchase majority stake and new Rakuten subsidiary to acquire minority stake in Seiyu
  • Walmart to retain 15% stake and work with KKR and Rakuten to accelerate Seiyu’s digital transformation to become Japan’s leading omnichannel retailer
  • The complementary retail expertise KKR and Rakuten bring, including track records of driving growth in e-commerce and digital marketing platforms across the globe, will help Seiyu become the local, innovative, value retailer of choice
  • This transaction reflects Walmart’s commitment to building strong, local businesses by bringing together the right parties in the right structure to meet unique market needs

TOKYO & BENTONVILLE, Ark.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Walmart Inc. (“Walmart”), KKR & Co. Inc. (“KKR”) and Rakuten, Inc., (“Rakuten”) today announced the signing of definitive agreements under which KKR will purchase a majority stake and a new Rakuten subsidiary will purchase a minority stake in Seiyu GK (“Seiyu” or the “Company”) in a deal valuing the business at ¥172.5 billion (approx. $1.6 billion).

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201115005157/en/

Under the terms of the agreements, KKR will acquire a 65% stake in Seiyu, and Rakuten will acquire a 20% stake, through a newly created subsidiary focused on retailer digital transformation. Walmart will retain a 15% stake in Seiyu. The new ownership structure enables Seiyu to take advantage of KKR, Rakuten and Walmart’s combined retail expertise and innovation as a standalone company and accelerate its digital transformation to further benefit both Seiyu’s customers and business partners.

KKR, Rakuten and Walmart are committed to supporting Seiyu’s growth and this unique ownership structure reflects a shared belief in Seiyu’s long-term strategy in Japan. Last year, Seiyu launched an ambitious strategy to accelerate growth through a more concerted focus on providing value, fresh produce and digital convenience to customers. The Company has already met or exceeded operational and financial goals across key areas, including market share, customer satisfaction, associate engagement and financial performance. Together, the three companies look to bring complementary strengths to build on Seiyu’s momentum and support its efforts to become Japan’s leading omnichannel retailer.

KKR and Rakuten’s investment in Seiyu is further intended to deliver a range of substantial benefits over time for the Company’s customer base, including:

  • Accelerated investment in digital channels to facilitate app-based shopping, payment and delivery services;
  • Introduction of new options for cashless payment;
  • Improved service experience across both online and offline channels; and
  • Enhanced product offering at everyday low prices to stay ahead of its customers’ shopping needs.

KKR will bring its deep expertise in the Japanese market to Seiyu, in addition to its decades-long track record of investing in the subsidiaries of large corporations and empowering them to unlock their potential as successful, independent companies. KKR will further leverage its sector and operational expertise to enhance Seiyu’s retail transformation efforts and will make available its network of advisors, portfolio companies and specialists to create value.

The new ownership structure builds on previously established collaborations between Rakuten and Walmart, including the popular Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper online grocery delivery service and Rakuten Group’s partnership with Walmart that includes ebook service support in the United States. Rakuten will further accelerate digital transformation of Seiyu and other Japanese retailers through its new subsidiary Rakuten DX Solution, leveraging its 100M+ membership base and technology.

Seiyu will continue to have access to Walmart’s global retail best practices, sourcing network and scale to maintain the price leadership and value it provides to customers.

Seiyu CEO Lionel Desclee will continue to lead the business through a transition period, after which he will take on a new role within Walmart. A new Board of Directors comprised of representatives from KKR, Rakuten and Walmart will be formed to focus decision making locally, and plans to appoint a new CEO following the close of the transaction.

Judith McKenna, President and CEO of Walmart International, commented, “This past year has been one of the most extraordinary in Seiyu’s rich 57-year history. Our associates have been exceptional, adapting brilliantly to serve customers at a time when they needed it most and outperforming against an ambitious transformation plan. We have been proud investors in this business over the past 18 years and we are excited about its future under the new ownership structure. Today’s announcement is important because its focus is on bringing together the right partners in the right structure to build the strongest possible local business. We look forward to supporting Seiyu’s growth and success, alongside KKR and Rakuten, as a minority investor.”

Hiro Hirano, Co-Head of Asia Pacific Private Equity and CEO of Japan at KKR, said, “KKR is pleased to invest in the success of Seiyu given the important role it plays in the lives of customers across the country. We are also excited by the prospect of working with Seiyu’s associates, who have dedicated themselves to supporting the business in spite of this year’s unprecedented challenges. We will focus on working closely with Seiyu’s management team and associates and leveraging the expertise of Rakuten and Walmart to enhance the customer experience, meet their ever-changing needs, and make shopping more accessible through digitalization. This investment is a true milestone for KKR in Japan and reinforces our commitment to the market as well as our continuing efforts to champion the long-term success of local businesses.”

Kazunori Takeda, Group Executive Vice President and President of Commerce Company, Rakuten, Inc., said, “By building on our successful partnership on Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper and our deep experience in online retail and data-based marketing, we look forward to accelerating digital transformation of Seiyu brick and mortar retail and further merging the best of offline and online retail to offer Seiyu customers the best possible OMO1 customer experience. The planned establishment of Rakuten DX Solution will also allow us to offer digital solutions optimized to transform retail at Seiyu and in new future partnerships with retailers across Japan.”

KKR is making its investment from its Asia private equity fund. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021.

About Walmart

Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better — anytime and anywhere — in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, over 265 million customers and members visit approximately 11,400 stores under 55 banners in 26 countries and eCommerce websites. With fiscal year 2020 revenue of $524 billion, Walmart employs over 2.2 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting https://corporate.walmart.com, on Facebook at https://facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/walmart.

About Seiyu:

Established in 1963, Seiyu is a nationwide supermarket chain in Japan with more than 300 retail units. Through its supermarket and hypermarket formats and Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper delivery service, Seiyu offers customers a broad assortment including fresh food, general merchandise, and apparel products across Japan from Hokkaido to Kyusyu. Offering EDLP to our customers, Seiyu contributes to making their everyday life more convenient as a leading, innovative, local value retailer powered by Walmart, its parent company.

About KKR:

KKR is a leading global investment firm that manages multiple alternative asset classes, including private equity, credit and real assets, with strategic partners that manage hedge funds. KKR aims to generate attractive investment returns for its fund investors by following a patient and disciplined investment approach, employing world-class people, and driving growth and value creation with KKR portfolio companies. KKR invests its own capital alongside the capital it manages for fund investors and provides financing solutions and investment opportunities through its capital markets business. References to KKR’s investments may include the activities of its sponsored funds. For additional information about KKR & Co. Inc. (NYSE: KKR), please visit KKR’s website at www.kkr.com and on Twitter @KKR Co.

About Rakuten:

Rakuten, Inc. (TSE: 4755) is a global leader in internet services that empower individuals, communities, businesses and society. Founded in Tokyo in 1997 as an online marketplace, Rakuten has expanded to offer services in e-commerce, fintech, digital content and communications to approximately 1.4 billion members around the world. The Rakuten Group has over 20,000 employees, and operations in 30 countries and regions. For more information visit https://global.rakuten.com/corp/.

About Rakuten DX Solution:

A new Rakuten Group subsidiary planned for establishment in January 2021 to support the digital transformation of brick-and-mortar retailers across Japan and to promote the merger of offline and online retail (OMO) in order to serve customers with a seamless and personalized retail experience.

1 OMO: “Online Merges with Offline” refers to breaking down the barriers between online services and offline brick-and-mortar stores in the retail space in order to provide customers with a seamless, personalized experience.

Walmart
Blake Jackson
+1 479 204-1028
blake.jackson@walmart.com

Seiyu
Miyuki Moriguchi
miyuki_moriguchi@walmart.com

KKR
KKR Asia Pacific
Anita Davis
+852 3602 7335
Anita.Davis@kkr.com

Finsbury (for KKR Japan)
Deborah Hayden, +81 70 2492 0463
Hannah Perry, +81 70 3769 9633
FinsburyKKRJapan@finsbury.com

KKR Americas
Kristi Huller, Cara Major, Miles Radcliffe-Trenner
+1 212 750-8300
Media@kkr.com

Rakuten, Inc.
Corporate Communications Department
global-pr@mail.rakuten.com

Source: KKR

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Kinnevik agrees to divest shares in Qliro Group

Kinnevik

Kinnevik AB(publ)(“Kinnevik”) today announced that it has agreed to divest 36,021,945 shares in Qliro Group AB (“QliroGroup”) to Rite Ventures, corresponding to 23.2percent of the shares in Qliro Group. As partial payment for thesold Qliro Group shares, Kinnevik will receive up to 47,439 shares in MatHem i Sverige AB (“MatHem”), corresponding to 0.5percentof the total number of shares in MatHem. The balance will be paid through a promissory note from Rite Ventures, which under some circumstances provides for a purchase price adjustment. The total consideration that Kinnevik expects to record in its financial statements immediately after closing of the transaction corresponds toSEK 195m.After the transaction, Rite Ventures will hold 29.9 percent of the shares in Qliro Group.

In connection with the transaction, other MatHem shareholders may also sell a portion of their MatHem shares to Kinnevikin exchange for Qliro Groupshares. If a sufficient number of MatHem shareholders exchange their shares, Kinnevik may come to divest its remaining stake of approximately 4 percent in Qliro Group through such exchange. Final completion of the transaction is subject to approval from the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority, and closing is expected to take place in the third quarter of 2020.

For further information, visitwww.kinnevik.comor contact:Torun Litzén, Director Investor Relations

Phone +46 (0)70 762 00 50Email press@kinnevik.com

Kinnevik is an industry focused investment company with an entrepreneurial spirit. Our purpose is to make people’s lives better by providing more and better choice. In partnership with talented founders and management teams we build challenger businesses that use disruptive technology to address material, everyday consumer needs. As active owners, we believe in delivering both shareholder and social valueby building long-term sustainable businesses that contribute positively to society. We invest in Europe, with a focus on the Nordics, the US, and selectively in other markets. Kinnevik was founded in 1936 by the Stenbeck, Klingspor and von Horn families. Kinnevik’s shares are listed on Nasdaq Stockholm’s list for large cap companies under the ticker codes KINV A and KINV B.

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Hellman & Friedman purchases Partners Group’s minority equity stake in Action

3I

3i Group plc (“3i”) yesterday announced that it is facilitating a transaction that will provide liquidity to limited partners in EuroFund V,who need to exit as the fund comes to the end of its life,through a sale of their interest in Action to new 3i-managed entities backed by existing investors in EuroFund V, new investors and by 3i.

This transaction values Action at an enterprise value of €10.25 billion and is expected to close in January 2020.Since that announcement,Partners Group,on behalf of its clients,has announced that it has agreed to sell its minority equity stak ein Action to Hellman & Friedman, in a separate transactionat the same valuation.

-Ends-

For further information, contact:3i Group plc Silvia Santoro

Investor enquiries Kathryn van der Kroft

Media enquiries

Tel: +44 20 7975 3258 Email: silvia.santoro@3i.com Tel: +44 20 7975 3021 Email: kathryn.vanderkroft@3i.com

Notes to editors:

About 3i Group3i is a leading international investment manager focused on mid-market private equity and infrastructure. Its core investment markets are northern Europe and North America. For further information, please visit: www.3i.com.

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A strong 2018 for Action: 23% sales growth and 230 stores added in 7 European countries

3I

Highlights 2018
(unaudited, amounts in € millions)
2018 2017 2018 vs
2017
Net sales 4,216 3,418 +23.3%
LfL sales growth1 3.2% 5.3%
Operating EBITDA2 450 387 +16.3%
Number of stores 1,325 1,095 +230
Number of employees3 46,000 41,000 +5,000

1 Calculated on stores open for more than 12 months 
2 Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortization and non-recurring items
3 Number of employees as of 31 December, rounded in thousands

Sander van der Laan, CEO, commenting on the 2018 results:
2018 was another successful year for Action showing strong growth driven by 3.2% like-for-like sales growth and the addition of 230 stores. Our continued success underlines the strength of the Action customer proposition of a broad, surprising and ever-changing product range at the lowest price. During 2018, we have accelerated our pipeline of five new distribution centres (DCs) and invested in our organisational and supply chain infrastructure to support the strong growth of our customer proposition, store network and expansion into new countries. Action remains focused on its international growth strategy with the ambition to become a €10 billion sales company over the medium term.”

Adrian Bellamy, Chairman of the Board of Directors:

“The fundamentals of Action’s proposition and business model remain compelling. Action performed very well last year particularly considering the significant challenges facing many of the retail concepts across our markets, and I would like to express the appreciation of the Board to all our employees.  Action will continue to invest in growth and a more resilient supply chain to support this growth.”

Strong financial results

Action performed very well with strong sales growth across all countries. Consolidated net sales totalled €4,216 million, up 23.3% compared to 2017. Healthy like-for-like growth in all our markets resulted in an overall like-for-like sales growth of 3.2%. Operating EBITDA increased by 16.3% to €450 million from €387 million in 2017.

These results were achieved despite a very challenging year for the broader European retail industry – amongst others caused by exceptional weather in the winter, summer and fall of 2018 which affected customer footfall across the entire retail industry in Europe.

Sales were also impacted by a number of specific issues:

  • Operational challenges in our two French DCs which led to availability of stock issues in many stores during the second and third quarters of 2018.
  • The “Gilets Jaunes” protests in the second half of the year and railway strikes (20 days in the first half) which led to reduced sales growth at key times in France.
  • Weather-related delays to the delivery of our two most recent DCs in France and Germany; these DCs are now operational but their delayed opening resulted in a supply chain capacity shortage in the second half of the year which in turn led to a delay in opening 20 stores from quarter 4 2018 to quarter 1 2019 in France.

The supply chain situation is now stabilised and has resulted in a strong performance in France and elsewhere in the final months of 2018. Like-for-like sales growth increased in quarter 4 2018 to a healthy 4.4% overall (above the rate seen in the previous three quarters) with higher and stable stock availability seen across the French network of stores. Strong like-for-like sales growth continued during the first eleven weeks of 2019.

Our gross margin was impacted by stock clearance in two of our categories: Decoration and Garden & Outdoor. The stock level in these categories is now well-balanced.

Our operating expenditures were impacted by:

  • an incremental increase in transportation costs due to the delay in the opening of two new DCs.
  • start-up costs for new DCs.
  • a decrease in productivity of our stores due to the operational challenges in the supply chain.
  • the current labour market confronting us with higher hourly rates.
  • a significant step-up in IT and incremental investments to strengthen the capabilities in our commercial, planning and supply chain teams for future growth.

Following our recapitalisation in March 2018, Action de-geared from 5.5x EBITDA to 4.4x EBITDA during the remainder of the year, as a result of strong cash generation and continued profit growth.

International expansion

The Action customer proposition – a broad, surprising and ever-changing product range at the lowest price – continues to be extremely well received in all the markets in which we operate.

Last year, Action added 230 stores and renewed 48 stores. The majority of the new stores were opened in France and Germany. In Poland, the success of our six store pilot, started in 2017 led to the opening of an additional 19 stores in 2018. In 2019, Action will continue with its store roll-out programme in France and Germany and will accelerate its store growth rate in Poland.

Action accelerated its store renewal programme in the Netherlands and Belgium: 48 stores were refurbished, enlarged or relocated in 2018 compared to 27 the year before.

Continuing investment in the Action organisation and supply chain infrastructure

Action continues to invest for future growth with a substantial focus on the organisation and the supply chain infrastructure. Action is accelerating the roll-out of its DC network: Action currently has seven operational DCs including Belleville (F) and Peine (D), which started operations in early 2019. A further three DCs will open before the end of 2020 and will lead to a doubling of the number of DCs over a three year period. This investment will facilitate further store roll-out in existing and new countries.

The DC expansion is being accompanied by the roll-out of new IT systems to support end-to-end supply chain planning and a significant people investment in parallel areas of supply chain infrastructure

Number of stores on December 31,
by geography
2018   2017 2018 vs
2017
The Netherlands 378 367 +11
Belgium & Luxembourg 172 153 +19
Germany 288 216 +72
France 424 335 +89
Austria 38 18 +20
Poland 25 6 +19
Total 1,325 1,095 +230

Action Social Responsibility

Our Action Social Responsibility strategy consists of four building blocks: product, people, environment and citizenship. During 2018 we implemented several initiatives, for example:

  • Product: we finalised our policies for the sourcing of timber and cotton and for the use of chemicals and packaging materials and started the implementation with our suppliers. We increased our number of products with a sustainable quality label such as FSC, UTZ or Oeko-Tex. In addition, we started the phasing out of single use plastic products.
  • People: we created 5,000 jobs and now employ 129 different nationalities. In 2018, we had over 24,000 participants in our training programmes.
  • Environment: we recycle all cardboard and plastic transport packaging. All our new stores and distribution centres will be equipped with energy-saving lights. The new DC in Belleville is BREEAM certified and is equipped with a solar power plant on its roof.
  • Citizenship: as part of our partnership with SOS Children’s villages, we supported over 1,100 children in Asia. This number will be increased to over 1,300 for 2019.

 

Our annual brochure UPDATE 2018, with an extensive overview of Action in 2018, is now available to download at www.action.com/update2018

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About Action
Action is the fastest-growing international non-food discounter with 1,352 stores in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Austria and Poland. Action employs 46,000 people. In 2018 total sales were EUR €4.2 billion. Around one third of the more than 6,000 products Action offers is part of our standard range. The rest of the range is dynamic and changes frequently. Action introduces more than 150 new items every week.  Our product range consists of 14 categories: decoration, DIY, toys & entertainment, stationery & hobby, multimedia, household, garden & outdoor, laundry & cleaning, food & drink, personal care, pets, sports, clothing and linen. Action offers private labels and well-known brands. Action is able to charge extremely low prices due to its large scale and efficient purchasing, optimal distribution and the cost-conscious culture across the organisation. Action makes no concessions on the quality, safety or production conditions of our products. Our Action Ethical Sourcing Policy ensures a responsible social and environmental approach to manufacturing.

For further information (not for publication):

Action

Action: Yvette Moll
Tel +31 (0)228 31 17 64
Mail press@action.nl
www.action.com

 

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Intertoys files for bankruptcy

Alteri

  • Shops remain open temporarily
  • Sale of Belgian stores in advanced stage
  • Possible restart to be investigated

Amsterdam, 21 February 2019. The administrators of Intertoys, the Netherlands’ market-leading toy retailer, today requested that the Amsterdam District Court convert the suspension of payments for Intertoys’ activities in the Netherlands into bankruptcy.

The bankruptcy follows the earlier suspension of payments granted by the Amsterdam District Court on 12 February 2019. The court-appointed administrators Joris Lensink (De Vos & Partners) and Jasper Berkenbosch (Jones Day) have been appointed curators by the court to oversee the bankruptcy settlement.

Shops remain open

At the request of the curators, all Intertoys stores will remain open. This is not least because the administrators will seek to include (part of) the Intertoys activities in a potential restart. To that end, the curators are in discussions with various parties.

Implications of bankruptcy

The bankruptcy means that debts prior to the date of the suspension of payments will not be reimbursed. The curators will now focus on the wind-down of the business, the sale of activities and the settlement of Intertoys’ responsibilities. In that process the curators will represent the interests of the creditors, as well as other parties involved such as employees, franchisees, and suppliers, and will seek to retain as many jobs, shops and franchisees as possible through a (partial) restart.

All obligations explicitly incurred by the administrators during the suspension of payments will be honoured. Salaries of employees will also be paid. In total, approximately 3,200 employees (1,600 FTE), spread across 286 stores in the Netherlands, 2 distribution centres and the service centre in Amsterdam, fall under the bankruptcy. The more than 100 franchisee stores in the Netherlands, and the Belgian activities, are exempt from the bankruptcy.

The bankruptcy includes the previously announced cooling-off period of two months for suppliers. Suppliers with retention of title can therefore NOT collect goods they have delivered. Any valid retention of title will continue to be respected.

Belgium

Intertoys is in talks that are at an advanced stage to sell Belgian activities operating under the name Bart Smit Speelgoedpaleizen België N.V.. The sale is expected to be completed in the short term.

Cause of bankruptcy

The far-reaching step reflects continuing pressure on the entire retail sector. Increasing online sales have reduced toy store sales by 50% in ten years. Also, specialist stores like Intertoys have faced increasing competition from discounters outside the traditional toy market.

Today’s announcement follows a wide range of investments and initiatives in the past 14 months to improve Intertoys’ performance. Among those were the appointment of new and experienced management, the launch of a new IT platform and web store and improved supplier conditions, better inventory management and a clean-up of old stock, and optimising the supply chain.

Next Steps

The curators will now commence settlement and a possible restart. The curators will publish their first report on this process no later than 21 March 2019. For questions we direct you to the homepage of the Intertoys website www.intertoys.nl.

ALTERI INVESTORS 20 Balderton Street, London, W1K 6TL T: +44 (0) 207 318 0570  E: info@alteri-investors.com

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Fresks acquires XL-BYGG Vetlanda

Litorina

Fresks continues to expand through the acquisition of XL-Bygg Vetlanda, a builder’s merchant located in Vetlanda in Jönköping county. The current owners, Johan and Catrine Aronsson, will reinvest part of the proceeds from the transaction and become shareholders in Fresks Group.

XL-BYGG Vetlanda (Vetlanda Trävaru AB) was foundedin 1972, at the time operating a plaining mill, and today the business is a focused full-service builder’s merchant with a turnover of approximately SEK 70million.

After the acquisition Fresks Group will have a total of 33 stores with pro forma revenues of approximately SEK 2.2 billion and 530 employees.

The transaction will complete on 15 January 2019.

For further information, please contact:
Leif Lindholm, +46 70 698 27 00, CEO Fresks Group

Fresks, founded in 1862 is a leading Swedish builder’s merchant group. The company has 33 stores under various local brands whereof the majority is branded XL-BYGG. Fresks sells high quality building material with high degree of service primarily to small and mid-sized professional customers. For more information, please visit www.fresks.se

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Gaw Capital Partners and Consortium Partners Win Bid to Acquire 12 Shopping Centers in Hong Kong

Gaw Capital

December 12, 2018, Hong Kong – Gaw Capital Partners today announced that the firm, through a fund under its management, and consortium partners, including Goldman Sachs, have won a bid to acquire a retail portfolio comprising 12 shopping centers in Hong Kong from Link Asset Management Limited at HK$ 12.01 billion and an average price of around HK$7,839 per sq. ft. excluding parking.

The portfolio is comprised of a number of strategically-located properties across Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories that sit in the heart of densely-populated communities. The GFA of the portfolio totals 1.1 million sq. ft. of prime retail space and comes with over 4,700 parking spaces that are connected to highly-convenient transport links. Their excellent accessibility and holistic shopping environments have made them attractive destinations for retailers and hubs of community life for residents.

The shopping centers included in the portfolio are: Retail and Car Park within Ap Lei Chau Estate, Chun Shek Shopping Centre, Fortune Shopping Centre, King Lam Shopping Centre, Lei Tung Commercial Centre, Ming Tak Shopping Centre, Shan King Commercial Centre, Siu Hei Commercial Centre, Retail and Car Park within Tai Ping Estate, Wah Ming Shopping Centre, Wah Sum Shopping Centre, Wang Tau Hom (Wang Fai Centre).

Goodwin Gaw, Chairman and Managing Principal of Gaw Capital Partners, said, “We and our partners are confident about Hong Kong’s future, and believe these malls will continue to serve important functions in the community. Followed by the bid we won together with our consortium partners to acquire 17 shopping malls in 2017, we will further leverage our experience to evolve these malls into refreshed and renewed centers of local life and collaborate with the local NGOs and existing tenants to build a better neighborhood for themselves.”

Kenneth Gaw, President and Managing Principal of Gaw Capital Partners, commented, “We worked closely with the community over the past 12 months and implemented a series of initiatives to better make use of these malls for the community. We look forward to applying our expertise in repositioning commercial property to add significant strategic value to this additional portfolio.”

Gaw Capital has over 13 years of experience investing in and/or turning around commercial properties in Greater China, including Hong Kong. The firm successfully transformed and repositioned properties such as 133 Wai Yip Street in Hong Kong, a former 12-storey industrial building turned creative office space; Sky Bridge HQ, a mixed-use project located in the heart of Linkong Economic Park in Shanghai; Pacific Century Place in Beijing, a 170,000 sqm (1.8 million sq. ft.) renovated mixed-use commercial property with two office towers and two serviced apartment blocks on a retail podium; Cross Tower in Shanghai, a 22-storey office with a two-storey retail podium; Ciro’s Plaza in Shanghai, a mixed-use property with a 39-storey office building and a 28,000 sqm (302,000 sq. ft.) retail mall; Plaza 353 in Shanghai, a 40,000 sqm (430,000 sq. ft.) renovated mall with historical heritage status; Popark Plaza in Guangzhou, a 92,400 sqm (994,000 sq. ft.) retail mall connected to the Guangzhou East Railway Station, with high-speed trains to Shenzhen and Hong Kong, and access to two major subway lines; and Metropolitan Plaza in Guangzhou, a 88,800 sqm (956,000 sq. ft.) mall located above two subway lines.

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