EQT Opportunity backs retailer

The Nordic special situations firm has seen an opportunity in a Swedish farmer-owned retailer, Granngården, which sells to pet lovers, householders and farmers. Granngården has 106 stores and 20 independent dealers in Sweden.

EQT Opportunity, EQT Partners' turnaround fund, has acquired the Swedish retail chain Granngården from farming collective Lantmännen.

Granngården is the largest nationwide retail chain of its kind in Sweden, with 106 stores and 20 independent dealers in the country. It targets animal and pet-lovers as well as householders and gardeners, and carries products for farmers and those involved in forestry.

Samir Kamal, a partner at EQT Partners, said the firm intended to develop Granngården into a “unified” retail chain. “To fully realise the potential in Granngården, both Lantmännen, an important supplier, and the Lantmännen members, an important customer group, will play crucial roles.” Lantmännen represents 42,000 farmers.

Granngården sales in 2007 amounted to SEK 2.4 billion ($399 million; €253 million). The company has approximately 1,000 employees. Granngården also has an on-line e-commerce subsidiary called Nordpost.

The acquisition is the seventh by the EQT Opportunity fund since its inception in the beginning of 2006. EQT Opportunity fund has an available investment capital of €372 million. It invests in mid-sized companies that need new capital and ownership.