News - 26.11.2013

Tilbords acquires kitchen specialist Rafens

(Bergen, 26 November 2013) Kitchen specialist Rafens merges with Norway's largest kitchen and interior chain Tilbords. The two chains will create a large unit within Norwegian specialist retail that equips a large part of Norwegian household kitchens with wine glasses, tableware, cutlery, pots and pans.

Arnt Hillestad, owner of Rafens, partners with Tilbords and sells the rights to develop and expand Rafens to a nationwide specialist chain for kitchenware. Hillestad becomes the first franchisee in a new streamlined franchise chain that will establish 50-60 stores in Norway. Total store sales from both chains are expected to pass NOK 1 billion within three years. 186 years of experience is now added to Tilbords’ 165 years of experience.

Arnt Hillestad says that he is very excited about the opportunity to take the family company from 1827 and develop it to a national chain together with Tilbords. “Now we have both the resources and capital to undertake a large expansion and exploit the full potential of the concept,” says the Rafens owner.

The market for kitchenware is booming, which in recent years has led to the emergence of new players.“We do not want to lean back and look at this development, but we will take an active role in it,” says Geir Langbakken, CEO of Tilbords. “In order for specialist retailers to survive, they need to become larger units which can operate more cost-effectively. Therefore, we are pursuing a very necessary consolidation in the industry and the agreement with Rafens suits us perfectly well and comes at a very appropriate time for us,” continues Langbakken.

Both chains will operate as pure-play franchise chains going forward. The plan for Rafens is to open up to 50-60 stores and thereby cover the largest shopping centers in Norway in addition to the most attractive locations in the largest city centers. Tilbords has made plans for 180 stores, in combination the two chains will be a significant and attractive player for landlords and suppliers of goods and services, which is also expected to be reflected in the terms given to the chain members.

The first Rafens stores with the new concept will be opened autumn 2014, and 10-12 stores will be open by the end of the year. From 2015 onwards the number of new store openings is expected to be 10-15 per year.

Geir Langbakken, CEO, Tilbords
Mobile: +47 99 64 20 00

Sverre Flåskjer, Partner, Herkules Capital
Mobile: +47 48 11 04 66