Sweden’s Financial Supervisory Authority has approved and registered Canadian accessibility giant Savaria’s £296m bid for Handicare Group, paving the way for one of the industry’s largest mega-mergers to go ahead.
Savaria intends to create a global leader in the accessibility industry with the deal, which will give it a total workforce of more than 2,300 staff and combined annual revenues of nearly £400m.
Crucially, it will also give it access to a stairlift manufacturing operation producing 45,000 units a year.
The green light from regulators in Sweden – where Hanidcare is based – formally means that the acceptance period for the offer is now open until 4 March. The board of Handicare has already recommended that shareholders accept the offer.
Marcel Bourassa, president and CEO of Savaria, has had a long-held vision to build a company that would serve a global market.
He said: “People throughout the world are aging and in need of equipment that gives them independence and ways to stay in their homes longer. In our discussions with Handicare, it is clear we have a shared vision and mission. Their strong stairlift portfolio, sophistication of manufacturing and market reach provides an exceptional complement to our business.
“I look forward to welcoming the employees of Handicare and their divisions which have sister segments in Savaria; patient handling and Span, Savaria/Garaventa Lift with Handicare stairlifts and our automotive group with Handicare’s adapted vehicles.
“We will have greater strength together and Stay at Home with Savaria will include Handicare products, our worldwide theme, assuming completion of the acquisition. Together, we will be well-positioned to become a world-leading company to answer the needs of this growing market.”
The deal has been backed by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), a major shareholder in Savaria.
Executive VP and head of investments, Kim Thomassin, said: “We are delighted to support the international expansion strategy of Savaria, a Québec manufacturer that has recorded significant growth over the years. With the acquisition, the company will join the ranks of global leaders in its industry, with significant market share in North America and Europe and a wide range of products.”
Savaria designs, manufactures, distributes, and installs accessibility equipment, such as stairlifts for straight and curved stairs, vertical and inclined wheelchair lifts, and elevators for home and commercial use.
It also manufactures and markets a comprehensive selection of pressure management products for the medical market, medical beds for the long-term care market, as well as an extensive line of medical equipment and solutions for the safe handling of patients. In addition, it converts and adapts vehicles to be wheelchair accessible.
The company operates a sales network of dealers worldwide and direct sales offices in North America, Europe, Australia, and China. In the UK its operations are based in Newton Abbot.
Handicare manufactures and sells curved and straight stairlifts, transfer, lifting and repositioning aids, and vehicle accessibility products.
The company sells into more than 40 countries and has primary manufacturing locations in the UK, Netherlands, US, and China. Last year it made sales of £180m.