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Bridgepoint in the News

24 March 2010

Bridgepoint Development Capital acquires Swedish care company Solhaga

Solhaga a leading Swedish care company specialising in the provision of care services to people with autism and related diagnosis, has been acquired by Bridgepoint Development Capital (”BDC”) from Valedo for an undisclosed sum. This represents the first investment made by BDC in the Nordic region since it started covering the Nordic lower mid-market at the beginning of 2010.

Solhaga was created through the merger of Solhaga By and Bellstasund in 2007 with four subsequent add-on acquisitions, although its origins date back to the 1950s. The Company is headquartered in Stockholm and has some 450 full-time employees. Solhaga is the leading provider in the full responsibility high acuity autism niche, providing high quality, individually tailored care programmes to over 250 users through 46 facilities across Sweden. It offers a complete range of care services such as group/assisted living, daily activities, diagnostics, schools and leisure activities. The activities are funded by Swedish municipalities who are required under Swedish law (the LSS Act) to ensure proper care to individuals with the most challenging functional impairments.

According to Solhaga's CEO, Saila Ström, funding from Bridgepoint Development Capital will allow the Company to add new activities in regions where Solhaga already has strong positions, add new facilities in areas where Solhaga does not currently have full coverage and bring additional healthcare sector knowledge to the Company. She said: "The management team of Solhaga is very excited to partner with Bridgepoint Development Capital to further develop the Company. We firmly believe in the growth prospects of the industry going forward, and feel that, with the right support and resources from our new owner, we are in a good position to capitalise on the many growth opportunities available, including the opening of new facilities as well as complementary add-on acquisitions. We want to continue to expand on our strategic concept of providing an integrated and high quality service offering to our users throughout their lives. Joining forces with an experienced healthcare investor like BDC will provide invaluable ownership support as well as strategic guidance from a professional Board".

The highly fragmented Swedish LSS market, with over 160 independent providers, has a current and forecast shortfall in service provision in certain regions and it is believed that municipalities will increase the use of private service provision to meet this shortfall. Demographics, better diagnosis and increased awareness of autism are expected to result in future underlying market growth of c.5% per annum with the target market for private providers expected to grow faster. Swedish municipalities spent c. SEK 34 billion on LSS services in 2008.

Johan Dahlfors, partner at Bridgepoint Development Capital in Stockholm, said: "Solhaga represents a unique opportunity to invest in the leading player in a highly fragmented market where we can partner with an experienced team to pursue a number of avenues for growth, particularly in consolidating the market with targeted infill acquisitions."

Debt funding for the transaction will be provided by SEB. Advisers involved in this transaction included: for Bridgepoint - Access Partners (M&A), LEK (commercial due diligence), E&Y (financial due diligence) and Linklaters (legal); for Valedo - SEB Enskilda (M&A) and Hannes Snellman (legal).

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