Poland: Private equity still strong
Poland continues to be a leading source of private equity business in emerging Europe, with recent transactions demonstrating the country’s attraction from both a retailing and manufacturing perspective.
Among the latest crop of deals, Warsaw private equity house Enterprise Investors bought a 60% controlling stake in Polish bathroom retailer and wholesaler Wema for €46 million.
"Our investment in Wema is a typical Enterprise Investors transaction in that we will become shareholders of the company alongside private entrepreneurs," says Agnieszka Kowalska, partner at Enterprise Investors. "The founders gave up control and kept a minority stake in the company as they feel confident that we have the experience and expertise to substantially support Wema’s countrywide expansion."
Founded in I989, Wema has grown from a small family business to Poland’s largest specialist bathroom retailer, with sales of €60 million in 2007. It operates through a network of 15 of its own and three franchised stores in northern and central Poland. Previous investments in the Polish retail sector by Enterprise Investors, which manages seven private equity funds totalling €1.7 billion, include supermarket chain Emperia, drugstore operator Apteki Polskie, flooring retailer Sklepy Komfort, fashion chain LPP and DIY operator Enterprise Nomi.