Exit: Nord Holding sells RUF Group to Waterland

11. Janu­ary 2022

Hano­ver — NORD Holding Unter­neh­mens­be­tei­li­gungs­ge­sell­schaft mbH (“NORD Holding”) has sold its shares in the RUF Group (“the Company”), one of the leading German suppli­ers of high-quality uphols­te­red and box-spring beds. The buyer is the invest­ment company Water­land Private Equity (“Water­land”). Details of the tran­sac­tion were not disclosed.

The RUF Group, based in Rastatt (RUF Betten) and Berlin (BRUNO Inte­rior), is a leading supplier of high-quality uphols­te­red and box-spring beds with a history span­ning almost 100 years. The company designs and manu­fac­tures uphols­te­red and box-spring beds, mattres­ses and access­ories, which are sold both in direct eCom­merce trade with its own online store and through statio­nary furni­ture stores or online stores of retail­ers in Germany and other EU count­ries. The products are marke­ted under two successful brands RUF Betten and BRUNO, each cove­ring diffe­rent custo­mer groups and price segments. With its 200 well-trai­­ned employees, the RUF Group gene­ra­ted sales of appro­xi­m­ately EUR 60 million in 2020.

NORD Holding iden­ti­fied the RUF Group as a compel­ling invest­ment oppor­tu­nity and acqui­red the company in 2016 as part of a carve-out from the family-run Hüls Group. NORD Holding was able to build on its strong track record as a private equity inves­tor in succes­sion situa­tions and carve-outs.

In close coope­ra­tion with the commit­ted manage­ment team of the company, important deve­lo­p­ment steps of the RUF Group could be initia­ted and accom­pa­nied by NORD Holding:
Estab­lish a multi-brand stra­tegy to diver­sify custo­mer groups and price segments. Expan­sion of the supply chain, Targe­ted acqui­si­tion of the eCom­merce company BRUNO Inte­rior to build a multi-chan­­nel stra­tegy. Prio­ri­tiza­tion of the digi­tiza­tion of the RUF Group in order to be able to offer digi­tal product support with the product confi­gu­ra­tor, among other things, and to better accom­pany the custo­mer jour­ney. Inter­na­tio­nal expan­sion by exten­ding geogra­phi­cal presence and licen­sing in Asian markets.

Ronald Grott, Member of the Execu­tive Board of NORD Holding:
“We are very proud of the growth and success that RUF Group has achie­ved over the last five years. This invest­ment is a great exam­ple of NORD Holding’s stra­tegy to support high quality compa­nies from the DACH region and manage­ment teams to expand inter­na­tio­nally and drive growth through trans­for­ma­tive M&A. We have no doubt that the RUF Group and its nearly 200 employees will conti­nue to deve­lop posi­tively under Waterland’s leader­ship. We would like to thank them all for their achie­ve­ments and wish them every success in the future.”

“Thanks to support from NORD Holding, we have been able to deve­lop excel­lently in recent years. Toge­ther with Water­land, we want to take this deve­lo­p­ment to the next level. We are looking forward to the coope­ra­tion and new, inno­va­tive ways,” says Heiner Goos­sens, Mana­ging Direc­tor of RUF Betten.

“Through the new part­ner­ship, we see even more value levers, espe­ci­ally in the area of D2C, also inter­na­tio­nally. We look forward to further streng­thening the BRUNO and RUF brands toge­ther with Water­land in the coming years,” adds Dr. Felix Baer, Mana­ging Direc­tor of BRUNO.

“RUF Betten has a broad, loyal custo­mer base, an ambi­tious work­force and expe­ri­en­ced manage­ment. With BRUNO, the group is also excel­lently posi­tio­ned in the direct-to-consu­­mer segment and has been able to steadily gain market share in recent years,” explains Dr. Cars­ten Rahlfs, Mana­ging Part­ner at Water­land. “We intend to expand this growth path through orga­nic momen­tum and further acqui­si­ti­ons in the coming years. We look forward to a successful partnership.”

NORD Holding (repre­sen­ted by Ronald Grott and Moritz Stolp) was advi­sed on the tran­sac­tion by IMAP (M&A); CMS (Legal); KPMG (Finan­cial and Tax) and ERM (ESG).

About Water­land
Water­land is an inde­pen­dent private equity invest­ment firm that helps compa­nies realize their growth plans. With substan­tial finan­cial support and indus­try exper­tise, Water­land enables its port­fo­lio compa­nies to achieve acce­le­ra­ted growth both orga­ni­cally and through acqui­si­ti­ons. Water­land has offices in the Nether­lands (Bussum), Belgium (Antwerp), France (Paris), Germany (Hamburg, Munich), Poland (Warsaw), the UK (London, Manches­ter), Ireland (Dublin), Denmark (Copen­ha­gen), Spain (Barce­lona) and Switz­er­land (Zurich). Curr­ently, over nine billion euros in equity funds are under management.

Water­land has consis­t­ently outper­for­med with its invest­ments since its incep­tion in 1999. The firm ranks fifth globally in the 2020 HEC/Dow Jones Private Equity Perfor­mance Rankings and eighth among global private equity firms in the 2020 Preqin Consis­tent Perfor­mers in Global Private Equity & Venture Capi­tal Report. In addi­tion, Real Deals awarded Water­land the title of Pan-Euro­­pean House of the Year 2020 at the PE Awards.

About NORD Holding
With a history of more than 50 years and assets under manage­ment of € 2.5 billion, NORD Holding is one of the leading private equity asset manage­ment compa­nies in Germany. The focus is on the invest­ment areas of direct invest­ments and funds of funds. The focus of the direct busi­ness is on the struc­tu­ring and finan­cing of corpo­rate succes­sion models, the acqui­si­tion of group divisions/subsidiaries and expan­sion finan­cing for medium-sized compa­nies. Unlike most other finan­cial inves­tors who manage funds for a limi­ted period of time, NORD Holding opera­tes as a so-called “ever­green fund” with no time limit and invests off the balance sheet. Curr­ently, the company is directly inves­ted in more than 15 compa­nies in Germany and other German-spea­king count­ries. The other Fund Invest­ments busi­ness unit targets the small-cap segment of the Euro­pean private equity market and focu­ses on primary, secon­dary and co-inves­t­­ments. In addi­tion, NORD Holding focu­ses on buyout mana­gers newly estab­lished in the market, opera­tio­nal invest­ment stra­te­gies and regu­larly acts as an anchor inves­tor.

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