When EQT partnered with Tiger in 2013, the retailer had already opened over 190 stores in 17 countries. With the support of EQT, Tiger has accelerated its exceptional growth, recently opening its 500th store and expanding its presence into the U.S.
It would not be the first time Scandinavian design has achieved success across the world. With its quirky design and a wide range of products offered at affordable prices, Tiger’s concept is proving popular not only in Europe, but also in Japan and the U.S.
For EQT VI an investment in Tiger had a clear rationale: the company, led by a dedicated management team, was growing at an impressive rate and had a unique concept proven across borders, which could be further expanded.
As a local player in Denmark with an office in Copenhagen, EQT had been building a relationship with Tiger for a number of years. EQT’s strong track-record of successfully applying its ‘Industrial Approach’ to the retail sector, supporting fast-growing businesses such as XXL and Plantasjen, enabled EQT to emerge as the partner of choice, despite Tiger being courted by a number of potential buyers.
“Tiger was already a very successful business when EQT invested in 2013, but we saw a lot of potential to grow it further and knew we could make a difference,” says Morten Hummelmose, Partner at EQT Partners, Investment Advisor to the EQT VI Fund.
Strengthening Tiger’s backbone
Following the investment, EQT used its proprietary network of over 250 independent Industrial Advisors to give Tiger access to senior retail experts. Appointees to the board included Rolf Eriksen, the former CEO of H&M, and others who had been through the same journey that Tiger was going through.
“By getting the EQT Industrial Advisors involved with the management team in the early stages, we were able to add more experience to Tiger’s team without losing the company’s fantastic entrepreneurial spirit. The aim was to allow Tiger to have the best of both worlds,” says Morten Hummelmose.
With the new board members in place, work was immediately undertaken to strengthen Tiger’s operational backbone. A process of continual improvement was initiated, aimed at enhancing core functions such as the supply chain and logistics, financial controlling and IT.
“Tiger was already growing impressively each year, but to maintain this pace of growth without any major hiccups would have been difficult had we not strengthened the company’s backbone,” adds Morten Hummelmose.
Under EQT’s ownership, Tiger has experienced yearly sales and EBITDA growth of around 50% and 45% respectively.
Potential for further expansion
Tiger now has a network of over 500 stores across Europe and Japan, with more than 3 new stores opened every week, and has recently expanded its presence into the U.S. In addition to this already impressive growth, EQT sees vast further potential for Tiger to expand in existing markets and enter new markets on a selective basis.
“Unlike many retail businesses, Tiger translates internationally and it has been a commercial success in every one of our markets so far. There is great potential for further expansion, but we are being selective because there is a limit to how much any single company can do at once,” says Morten Hummelmose.
Tiger currently has over 3,000 employees and 500 stores worldwide. In 2014 the company had revenues of DKK 2,563 million and served around 58 million customers.