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Acquisition Creates the Leading Total Supplier of Pet Products in the Nordic Countries

Axcel IndustriInvestor a.s. acquires 50% of the share capital in Kvik Pet Care A/S, a leading Danish supplier of pet products.

At the same time Kvik Pet Care A/S acquires the companies B-S Pet Products A/S in Denmark and Kerox Oy in Finland.

The merger of the three companies creates the leading total supplier of pet products in the Nordic countries, which will operate under the name of Vital Petfood Group A/S, with total revenues of around DKK 450 million.

The current owners of Kvik Pet Care, the Managing Directors Jørn Senger and Dan Brockdorff, IndustriUdvikling A/S and Managing Director Olav Hansen have entered into an agreement with Axcel IndustriInvestor according to which Axcel becomes a co-owner of Kvik. Axcel will acquire 50% of the shares through an injection of new capital.

The expansion of the ownership takes place as a step in an ambitious plan to create a leading Nordic company within pet products as a counterweight to the large international companies in the market.

Kvik Pet Care is a leading supplier of pet products to the Danish market. Products are sold partly under the brand name of Kvik, partly as private label products through the subsidiary Vital Petfood A/S. Revenues amount to approx. DKK 130 million.

With the acquisition of B-S Pet Product from KFK and the Finnish company Kerox, Kvik has come considerably closer to achievement of the above-mentioned plan. B-S is the largest Nordic total supplier of pet products with revenues of approx.

DKK 200 million and a strong market position in primarily Sweden and the other Nordic countries. Kerox is the leading Finnish wholesaler in the market with sales of around DKK 125 million. Thus, the new pet products Group will become well represented in all the Nordic countries.

"Ever since we entered the industry seven year ago our main objective has been to create a leading Nordic business through a merger of the leading companies operating in this market. We find it very exciting that we now - together with strong financial partners - have the opportunity to demonstrate that our visions were right." say the two Managing Directors Jørn Senger and Dan Brockdorff.

The Pet Products Market

The market for pet products comprises a broad range of articles for all kinds of pets, with full diet products making up the largest share. Pet products is a growth market because the number of pets is increasing as is the demand for industrially prepared petfood. In the Nordic countries as in the rest of Europe this market is expected to grow by 8-10% per year.

The industry is currently undergoing major changes with many acquisitions and mergers. Size and a strong market position are thus becoming increasingly important for the suppliers in order to meet the requirements of the retail customers in terms of product range, ability to deliver, product development and customer service.

Vital Petfood Group A/S - VPG

VPG will market a broad assortment of petfood and accessories for all kinds of pets. The products will be marketed both as private labels and under the well-established brand names of Kvik, Best Friend and Kero. Through local sales subsidiaries in all four Nordic markets and a substantial sales force, VPG will be able to service both large and small pet products customers in the entire Nordic marketplace.

Distribution will take place from central warehouses placed in Denmark, Sweden and Finland. VPG will have its own production facilities in Denmark and Finland.

Immediately subsequent to the acquisitions, the activities of the three companies will be merged to utilise in full the synergy effects arising from the merger.

The Head Office of the new pet products Group will be located in Hasselager near Århus at B-S's current address. The new Group will employ a total of around 275 people. The management team of the new Group will, furthermore, be expanded with Mr. Erik Lohmann, who will join VPG as new CFO in connection with the acquisitions.

The responsibilities in VPG will be as follows:

Jørn Senger: Sales - international, procurement and production (Ølgod) Dan Brockdorff: Sales - domestic, production (Ålestrup and Hasselager), logistics and product development Erik Lohmann: Finance, IT and administration

Mr. Jens Josefsen will become the Chairman of the Board of VPG.

VPG expects to generate revenues of approximately DKK 450 million this year.

Focus on Continued Growth
The purpose of the acquisitions is to create a company with a strong market position in the entire Nordic region in order to achieve a profitable operation and a high customer service level.

"The Board of VPG sees large opportunities within the pet products industry in the years ahead. Firstly, we believe that the merger of leading local suppliers into one very forceful international Group will prove advantageous to both the customers and the company. Secondly, we believe that this drastic change of the picture in the Nordic pet products industry may pave the way for new opportunities as regards acquisitions or partnerships", says the future Chairman of the Board of VPG, Jens Josefsen.

The new ownership is planning to continue the development of VPG through both organic growth and acquisitions.

"Kvik is an exciting company, which has experienced impressive growth. With these acquisitions we have created an internationally visible entity with a huge potential. We in Axcel are very pleased that we - to the benefit of all parties involved - can contribute to implementing significant restructuring measures in this industry together with a dedicated and competent management team, in a strong Danish company" says Christian Frigast, CEO of Axcel IndustriInvestor.

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