Business news

Slovenia's leading baby care chains slated for merger

Ljubljana, 10 February (STA) - Slovenia's largest private equity fund has announced its intention to acquire and merge the leading chains of baby and child care shops in Slovenia to create a major player with a leading position in Slovenia and a strong presence in Southeast Europe.

Alfi PE intends to acquire majority stakes in Baby Center, which operates stores in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia, and Pikapoka, which operates the retail chains Pikapoka in Slovenia and Croatia and owns the toy wholesaler Apollo.

"The planned transaction is scheduled for completion in the second half of this year," Alfi PE said in a press release on Monday, adding that it needed to conduct due diligence and obtain regulatory approval.

The fund is mounting the bid in cooperation with the owners of both companies "in response to increasing competition by both local and international companies". They also want to expand operations to West Europe.

Both retail chains sell the entire range of baby and child products, from diapers and strollers to toys and clothes, whereas Apollo is in toy wholesale and operates in twenty countries.

Baby Center posted net sales of EUR 28.7 million in 2018, the last year for which data is available, with a net profit of around a million euro.

Pikapoka had net sales of just shy of EUR 16 million and a net profit of EUR 175,000, with Apollo contributing another EUR 12 million in sales and EUR 400,000 in net profit.

Alfi PE was established last year at the initiative of the state-owned SID Banka and the European Investment Fund. It has so far completed two investments.

Business daily Finance says that it has assets under management of EUR 46 million provided by a series of mostly Slovenian companies.