EQT sells WS Audiology to new fund

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EQT has sold WS Audiology, a Danish manufacturer of hearing aids, from its EQT VI fund to a consortium including EQT VIII and Swiss-based investor Santo Holdings.

Following the closing of the transaction, EQT VII, EQT VIII, Santo Holdings, the Tøpholm and Westermann families, and a group of minority co-investors will own WS Audiology.

EQT says that WS Audiology is the largest producer of hearing aids based on volume. It sells 5.5 million units a year and has revenues of EUR 2bn. 

Filed accounts show that it had revenues of EUR 1.7bn in the year to September 2020, with EBITDA of EUR 201m and adjusted EBITDA of 331m.

Revenue growth was 4% in its 2019/20 financial year and EQT says that the company’s EBITDA has grown more than 20% since it first invested in 2014. 

The adjustment comes from significant one-time costs related to the 2019 merger between Sivantos (acquired by EQT VI in 2014) and Widex, owned by the Tøpholm and Westermann families, according to the accounts. 

At the time, the joint entity was valued at €7bn, according to the GP. 

EQT closed EQT VIII in February 2018 on EUR 10.75bn, according to Unquote Data it is already 80% deployed. 

WS Audiology said it aimed to expand with increased market penetration and investment in R&D and its supply chain. Its sales were hit in early 2020 by a shortage of lithium-ion components, the company said. 

Formed in 2019 through the merger of Sivantos and Widex, WS Audiology manufactures hearing aids and auditory testing devices under a suite of 14 brands. It claims to be active in 125 countries globally and has headquarters in Lynge, Denmark, and Singapore.

– Marcus Brennecke, Kasper Grundtvig Knokgaard (partners).

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