- EQT to sell AutoStore, the leading global provider of warehouse automation systems, to THL Partners and other co-investors
- During EQT’s ownership, AutoStore has expanded its geographical presence, broadened its addressable market through new R&D innovations (including launch of the Black Line) and empowered some of the world’s largest warehouses with state-of-the-art automation solutions
- Since acquired by EQT, AutoStore has experienced exponential growth, with quadrupled revenues, a 4.5 EBITDA increase and a doubling of the employee base
The EQT VII fund (“EQT” or “EQT VII”) has entered into an agreement to sell AutoStore (“the Company”) to THL Partners L.P. (or “THL Partners”). EQT VII will reinvest in AutoStore and continues as minority owner, holding an approximate 10 percent stake in the Company.
Headquartered in Nedre Vats, Norway, AutoStore is an automated cubic warehouse systems pioneer. The Company’s cubic solution has automated more than 350 warehouses in 28 countries around the globe. AutoStore’s technology increases logistic efficiency significantly and consequently cater for consumers’ rapid-growing demand for speedy delivery of goods. AutoStore’s solutions represent a competitive advantage for leading retail companies, such as Puma, Best-Buy and Boozt.
Following a “cross-pollination initiative” to identify key investment themes across EQT's core sectors, Warehouse Automation was identified as an attractive thematic investment opportunity in the Industrial Technology sector. AutoStore first appeared on EQT’s radar in 2011 through the previous portfolio company XXL, a leading Nordic sports retail chain, which utilized AutoStore’s storage solutions as one of its tools to disrupt the Nordic sports retail market. After following the Company closely for years, EQT acquired AutoStore in January 2017.
Together with the management team, the board of directors and two advisory boards, EQT has supported AutoStore’s accelerated growth journey. Under EQT’s tenure, revenues have quadrupled, EBITDA has increased by 4.5 and the employee base, including the R&D department, has more than doubled.
Enabled by substantial step-up in R&D investments, AutoStore launched the “Black Line” series in 2019, a new product family of retrieval robots generating up to 140 percent higher throughput compared to its predecessors. By introducing the Black Line and catering for even more high-speed application, AutoStore expects to broaden the addressable market by 40 percent. Furthermore, the R&D pipeline looks promising with multiple new launches expected over the coming years.
Karl Johan Lier, CEO and President of AutoStore, said: “The AutoStore and EQT partnership has been excellent. EQT has played a critical role from A to Z and has actively supported us in overperforming the Company’s ambitious targets set in 2016. We look forward to continuing our growth journey with our new partner THL Partners and are happy that EQT has rolled over some of its proceeds”.
Anders Misund, Partner at EQT Partners, Investment Advisor to EQT VII, concluded: “EQT has been proud to support AutoStore’s mission to become one of the leading logistic technology providers globally. We are highly impressed by the innovation spirit and R&D efficiency in AutoStore and the result-oriented culture. Management has done an outstanding job in accelerating growth and solidifying its global presence in the Automated Storage and Retrieval System market and EQT is happy to remain invested in the coming years”.
The transaction is subject to customary approvals and is expected to close during the third quarter of 2019.
Anders Misund, Partner at EQT Partners, Investment Advisor to EQT VII fund, +47 232 37 555
EQT Press Office, [email protected], +46 8 506 55 334
EQT is a leading investment firm with more than EUR 61 billion in raised capital across 29 funds and around EUR 40 billion in assets under management. EQT funds have portfolio companies in Europe, Asia and the US with total sales of more than EUR 21 billion and approximately 127,000 employees. EQT works with portfolio companies to achieve sustainable growth, operational excellence and market leadership.
More info: www.eqtpartners.com
AutoStore, founded in 1996, is a robot technology company that invented and continues to pioneer Cube Storage Automation; the densest storage solution in existence. Our focus is to marry software and hardware with human abilities to create the future of warehousing. The company is global with more than 350 systems in 28 countries in a wide range of industries. All sales are distributed, designed, installed and serviced by a network of qualified system integrators we call partners. Our headquarters is in Nedre Vats, Norway, and with offices in US, UK, Germany and France.
More info: www.autostoresystem.com