INVL Baltic Sea Growth Fund (“the Fund”), the largest private equity investment fund in the Baltic region, has completed the acquisition of a stake in MBL Group (“MBL” or “the Company”), a leading European manufacturer of medical mobility devices, headquartered in Denmark.
Prior to the completion of this transaction, MBL was 70% owned by the Lauritsen family, who founded the company in 1988, with the remaining 30% ownership held by Accession Mezzanine Capital III, a fund advised by Mezzanine Management. As a result of this deal, the Fund has indirectly acquired 48% of MBL while the remaining 52% will continue to be owned by the Lauritsen family.
The acquisition of MBL is the first deal for the Fund to be completed outside the Baltic States and was executed through a portfolio company that is 100% owned by the Fund.
MBL specialises in the production of wheelchairs, rollators, aged care beds and other rehabilitation equipment. Its head office is in Denmark, with manufacturing facilities located in Poland and China. MBL had sales of €66 million in 2019. The Company has a particularly strong R&D track record with more than 60 patents registered under its name. MBL is primarily a contract manufacturer and includes leading global medical mobility device brands among its clients.
Nerijus Drobavičius, Partner at the Fund, commented:
“We are very excited to continue investing in the broader healthcare sector which offers enormous growth opportunities in Europe and beyond. We are delighted to be partnering with the Lauritsen family who have built MBL into a true world leader of medical mobility devices with a proven track record for R&D and innovation. We are confident that MBL will continue to cement this position by expanding its product range which significantly benefits the quality of life for those who depend on MBL’s products.”
Deimantė Korsakaitė, Executive Partner at the Fund, commented:
“We are thrilled to have a fourth company joining our strong portfolio, expanding its geographical reach from the Baltics to the wider Baltic Sea region and Denmark in this case. This acquisition brings the capital deployment of our €165mn Fund to more than 35% in just 18 months of activity. Healthcare investments offer resilience at any stage of the economic cycle provide a long-term growth opportunity with ageing populations in much of the developed world, while also contributing critically to patient well-being.”
Mogens Bichel Lauritsen, CEO of MBL, commented:
“In connection with a generational change in the MBL Group, we have, for a long time, been searching for a new partner for MBL. After numerous meetings with the INVL Baltic Sea Growth Fund team, we are convinced that we have selected exactly the right partner who can contribute to ensuring MBL’s continued, global growth. I will, at the same time, pass the role as CEO on to Martin Bichel Lauritsen, who is the next generation of the MBL family. As Managing Director of MBL Poland and MBL China, Martin has already been at the front line for many years. Our customers will therefore not notice any difference in the management or in the service to which we have always given the highest priority. I will continue to be involved in the daily operations, where I will primarily focus on working with product development. Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to our many loyal employees, customers, suppliers and other business partners for the very positive cooperation that we have had through the years.”
Piotr Sadowski, Partner at Mezzanine Management, commented:
“We are very pleased with the results of our nearly four-year partnership, during which time the company improved its market position, introduced many innovative products, and ultimately improved its financial performance. We are happy that we could be part of this development. We are confident that Martin’s experience and passion make him incredibly well placed to take the helm, and that INVL’s support will ensure the business can continue its impressive development.”
INVL Baltic Sea Growth Fund
INVL Baltic Sea Growth Fund with its total size of €165mn is the largest private equity fund in the Baltics with the European Investment Fund (“EIF”) acting as its anchor investor.
The EIF has committed €30mn with the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments, a key element of the Investment Plan for Europe (or the ‘Junker Plan’), as well as allocating resources from the Baltic Innovation Fund, the “fund of funds” initiative developed in cooperation with the governments of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. This aims to increase capital investment in high growth potential small and medium-sized enterprises in the Baltic States.
The Fund seeks to assemble a diversified portfolio of companies, targeting majority or significant minority stake deals and writing tickets of €10mn to €30mn, that showcase high growth potential and the ability to compete on a truly global basis.
The Fund is focused on the Baltic States and the neighbouring regions of Poland, Scandinavia and Central Europe specifically. The Fund so far has invested in three companies within the healthcare, civil engineering and environment management (plastic recycling and waste management) sectors respectively.
The Fund is managed by one of Lithuania’s leading asset management companies INVL Asset Management, which is part of the Invalda INVL group.
INVL Asset Management
INVL Asset Management is part of Invalda INVL, one of the leading asset management groups in the Baltic region. The group’s companies manage pension and mutual funds, individual portfolios, private equity assets, and other alternative investments.
Over 200,000 clients in Lithuania and Latvia and international investors have entrusted the group with more than €1bn of assets under management. Active since 1991 and with a solid track record, Invalda INVL boasts 28 years’ worth of experience in managing private equity assets in the Baltic countries and CEE landscape while developing companies into best-in-class market leaders.
Mezzanine Management is currently investing from AMC Capital IV, which closed on €264 million in 2018 and is the firm’s largest vehicle to-date. After providing subordinated debt and structured growth capital to the region’s mid-market for the last 20 years, the firm is currently adding a direct lending strategy to its regional private debt platform to address the growing yet underserved opportunity in its core market of Central Europe.
Mezzanine Management is the exclusive advisor to the Accession Mezzanine Capital group of funds, whose total investments exceed €750m. Mezzanine Management has been operating in Central and Eastern Europe since 2000 through its offices in Vienna, Warsaw, Bucharest, Budapest and Prague. The funds’ investment portfolio is diverse, with more than 50 transactions across 12 countries in CEE. The funds are backed by reputable institutional investors, including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Fund and a number of banks, funds of funds, pension funds and insurance companies.