Ferd takes stake in online grocery retailer

Ferd has taken its first ever step in the grocery industry, with Ferd Capital having recently invested SEK 100 million in the Swedish online grocery retailer MatHem.

TEXT: IRINA LEE

MatHem is the largest online grocery retailer in Sweden, and reported revenue of nearly SEK 1 billion in 2016.

“We expect to grow by between 30% and 40% this year. The plan is for us to be profitable by the end of the year”, commented Tomas Kull, CEO of MatHem, in an article published in Finansavisen earlier this year. Tomas Kull started the company with his wife.

Scandinavian owners
Ferd invested in MatHem in close collaboration with its largest shareholder, the private equity company Verdane Capital, which owns 36% of the company.

Ferd Capital has invested around SEK 100 million in MatHem, giving it a 6% stake. Denmark’s Anders Holch Povlsen, who owns the international fashion company Bestseller, and Karl-Johan Persson, the majority shareholder in H&M, also invested in MatHem at the same time. The former now owns 21% of the company and the latter 10%, with the company’s founders keeping around 12%.

Founder Tomas Kull is very pleased that Ferd has come on board, particularly because Ferd is a capital-rich owner with a long-term investment horizon that also cares about social responsibility.

“Ferd’s funds will enable us to continue to grow while maintaining quality and launching new projects”, commented Tomas Kull to ICA Nyheter, a specialist Swedish grocery publication.

Big potential
From Ferd Capital’s perspective, MatHem represents an exciting investment in a new industry.

“We are impressed with what MatHem has achieved. The company is growing very strongly while delivering a high-quality service to consumers. Investing in MatHem also represents an opportunity to gain exposure to the grocery market, and specifically to a distribution channel that is growing strongly”, comments Håkon Glimstad Kristiansen, Senior Investment Manager at Ferd Capital.

Håkon Glimstad Kristiansen and his colleague Kristian Eikre, Head of Special Investments at Ferd, worked on the investment case for MatHem together. Kristian Eikre is in no doubt that online grocery retailing represents a big and growing market.

“We don’t think physical shops will disappear, but this is without doubt an enormous market”, comments Kristian.

In connection with the investment, Ferd analysed the online grocery retailing markets in Scandinavia. The conclusion was that Sweden has made much more progress than Norway.

The entire article is available (in Norwegian) here.

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