During spring 2001, Ratos made a major investment, along with Skandia Liv and Sjätte AP-fonden, to buy Lindab off the exchange. Ratos invested SEK 1,066 million, giving it a 49% ownership stake.
Lindab was founded by Lage Lindh as Lindhults Plåtslageri in Lidhult, west of Ljungby. The company moved to Grevie in Båstad municipality, where the company was registered as Lindab in 1959. Lindab developed into a successful manufacturer of thin metal sheet building materials and was exchange listed in 1984. Manufacturing took place in 21 countries. Approximately 70% of sales were to countries outside of Sweden.
Ratos saw a significant growth potential for Lindab, including in Eastern Europe. Following the acquisition, a comprehensive review of the company was undertaken, resulting in a new strategy and a new organisation in 2002.
The Ventilation business area accounted for two-thirds of Lindab’s sales. The company was the world’s leading manufacturer and a market leader in ventilation ducts in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany and the US.
Within the Profile business area, there was a broad range of products including roof drainage systems, roof and facade sheeting, steel structures and light construction systems. Lindab was a market leader within most product groups in the largest markets, including the Nordic countries.
Lindab reported growing sales and earnings from 2003-07, especially due to strong expansion in Eastern Europe. A new ventilation plant was opened in Prague in 2004. The following year, Astron Building Systems in Luxemburg was acquired, which was Europe’s leading company for prefabricated steel buildings for commercial premises.
The British firm CCL was acquired in 2006, which was a market leader in ventilation ducts in the UK. Lindab was relisted on the stock exchange on December 1 of that year, with Ratos subsequently holding a 22% stake in the shares.
By 2008, Lindab had sales of SEK 9.8 billion, compared with SEK 5.2 billion in 2001, but that year also saw the start of the big financial crisis, which resulted in a significantly reduced demand for construction-related products in Europe, not least of all in Eastern Europe. Major cost savings measures were therefore undertaken during the years that followed.
A Building Systems plant opened in Jaroslavl, Russia in 2009. Ratos sold its holdings in Lindab the following year.
Lindab was the European market leader in 2011, with operations in 31 countries. The company had 4,000 employees, compared with 3,400 when Ratos came aboard as owner. Manufacturing was partially done locally for difficult to transport products, as well as at central production facilities in Sweden, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Russia and Luxembourg.
Ratos sold its remaining shares in Lindab in 2012 (combined IRR during the holding period was 23%). Since the acquisition, sales had increased from SEK 5.2 to 6.7 billion.