March 5, 2018 / 1:38 PM / 13 days ago

Finnish sauna company Harvia plans Helsinki IPO

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finnish sauna heater maker Harvia plans an initial public offering on the Helsinki bourse as it seeks to expand globally following improved profitability under the ownership of private equity firm Capman (CAPMAN.HE).

FILE PHOTO: Harvia sign is seen on the sauna heater in Helsinki, Finland February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Jussi Rosendahl/File Photo

Harvia said in a statement that it aims to raise around 45 million euros ($55 million) in the IPO. It did not give a float size but Capman, which bought a 72 percent stake in the company in 2014, told a joint news conference that it plans to remain a significant shareholder after the IPO.

Harvia’s sales grew 20 percent last year to 60.1 million euros, helped by acquisitions, while core operating profit increased slightly to 11 million euros.

It competes globally with Finland’s Tylohelo, Germany’s Klafs and China’s Anhui Saunaking, among others, none of which are listed companies.

“We see the overall sauna and spa market (globally) growing around 5 percent annually in the coming years... we are very well positioned thanks to our strong brand and integrated production model,” CEO Tapio Pajuharju told the news conference.

Growth in demand stemmed from regular replacements as a Scandinavian sauna’s heaters need to be replaced a couple of times during each sauna’s lifespan, and from growing awareness of the health benefits of saunas, he said.

A Finnish study has found that using saunas can help reduce the risk of developing dementia and heart problems.

    While Europe accounts for the vast majority of the company’s sales, Harvia said it was seeing interest from hotels, spas and gyms in North America, Asia and Middle East.

    Finland has a population of just 5.5 million people but is home to around 3 million saunas.

    Harvia has production units in Finland, China, Romania and Estonia, and uses a contract manufacturer in Russia.

    Chief Financial Officer Ari Vesterinen said the company was constantly looking for “both small and big” acquisitions in the fragmented global market. ($1 = 0.8138 euros)

    Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl, editing by Terje Solsvik and Susan Fenton

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