Lion Capital Puts Dutch Homeware Retailer Hema Up for Sale

Updated on
  • Credit Suisse appointed as adviser in review of options
  • Dutch retailer on mend with 10 quarters of sales growth

Cyclists ride bicycles near a Hema store in Utrecht.

Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

Hema, a 91-year-old Dutch retailer known for design housewares, is for sale.

Private equity firm Lion Capital LLP, which bought the chain a decade ago, is considering strategic options for Hema and appointed Credit Suisse Group AG as an adviser to a possible sale, the Amsterdam-based retailer said in a statement on Thursday.

Tjeerd Jegen

Source: Hema

Hema, which opened its first store in 1926 in Amsterdam, owns more than 700 stores in seven countries. With a focus on the Netherlands, Belgium and France, it has been expanding more abroad in recent years in markets including the U.K. and Spain.

Several parties have expressed interest in the company and an initial public offering is also an option, Hema Chief Executive Officer Tjeerd Jegen said in an interview. He added that he’d like to keep leading the company and that Hema could be sold to a retailer or a private equity company.

While Hema’s stores are smaller than Target Corp.’s, the Dutch retailer has a similar product offering, ranging from baby clothes and cooking utensils to stationery and party decorations. Many items are emblazoned with cartoon silhouettes of a boy and girl named Jip and Janneke, well-known in the Netherlands.

First-half sales rose 4.1 percent to 437 million euros ($513 million) as adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization gained 13 percent to 42 million euros, Hema also said Thursday. The company posted a second-quarter net loss of 29 million euros, due to one-time costs of 20 million euros incurred for refinancing.

Hema has had 10 consecutive quarters of like-for-like sales growth and six quarters of adjusted Ebitda growth.

“We are at the beginning of the process,” said Jegen. “It will take a few months. We will drink lots of cups of coffee and tea now.”

Lion Capital acquired Hema in 2007. Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf said in June that the Hema owner was scanning the market for a transaction, with no decision made on an initial public offering or a sale.

(Updates with CEO comments in fourth paragraph.)
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