EQT acquires Sanitec

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Feb. 04, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) -- The EQT IV Fund ("EQT") announced today that it has reached an agreement with funds advised by BC Partners to acquire Sanitec Corporation. Sanitec is Europe's leading manufacturer of bathroom ceramics and bath and shower products. In 2003, the company's sales totalled EUR 951 million.

Sanitec, headquartered in Finland and Germany, has grown rapidly through acquisitions over the past ten years and is one of the largest suppliers in all its main markets today. The company has 27 production plants, primarily in Europe, and a sales and marketing network that operates worldwide. Sanitec currently has about 7,100 employees.

Consumers are increasingly focusing on enhancing the quality of their living environment. Sanitec is considered to be well positioned to capitalize on that trend by offering high-quality products under well-established brand names such as Albatros, Allia, Ido, Ifo, Kolo, Koralle, Leda, Porsgrund, Pozzi-Ginori, Revita, Selles, Sphinx, Twyford, and Varicor. Scandinavia, Germany, France and the U.K. currently represent the largest markets, while Eastern Europe is expected to grow in importance as the region approaches Western European living standards.

Sanitec's fastest-growing product area is the bath and shower products segment, where demand is driven by refurbishment and new residential and commercial construction. During the past decade the bathroom ceramics products segment has shown stable growth. Market demand in this area is driven primarily by renovation, maintenance and improvement, but also by new residential and commercial construction.

"Sanitec fits well into EQT's strategy to invest in high-quality companies with significant growth and development potential. The investment is EQT's second venture in the sanitary sector and follows our successful exit in 2004 from Dahl, the leading heating and sanitation wholesaler in the Nordic region. We believe that EQT's financial resources, sector experience and knowledge in driving industrial acceleration will ensure that Sanitec is provided with the right resources to continue to develop and focus its business further," says Juha Lindfors, partner at EQT Partners.

The acquisition is subject to the customary regulatory approvals.

EQT is a group of private equity funds with equity commitments of almost EUR 6 billion. EQT Partners, acting as investment advisor to all EQT funds, has offices in Stockholm, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Munich and Frankfurt. EQT realises its business concept by acquiring and developing high-quality medium sized companies in Northern Europe. EQT serves as an active owner and works in close co-operation with the management of the companies it acquires, to develop and implement value-enhancing strategies. To date, the EQT private equity funds have invested in more than 30 companies, with combined sales in excess of EUR 7 billion.

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