Eastway/AVAB-CAC and Starlight form production giant

Rental equipment and event organiser Eastavab Group Oy has agreed to merge with Swedish United Audio Starlight AB ('Starlight') to create a Nordic ‘super production group’, writes Dave Robinson.
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Rental equipment and event organiser Eastavab Group Oy has agreed to merge with Swedish United Audio Starlight AB ('Starlight') to create a Nordic ‘super production group’.

Eastavab Group, jointly owned by CapMan Buyout IX fund and the management team, is the holding company of Eastway and AVAB-CAC, two of the highest profile service companies in Finland and Norway respectively. Starlight, the leading Swedish rental and touring company for the entertainment industry, was founded in 2006 through a merger between United Audio AB and Starlight AB.

Together Eastavab and Starlight will form the leading audiovisual equipment rental company operating in Finland, Sweden and Norway. In a statement, the owners say they aim to “increase the new group's market share in its existing geographies and to continue to expand to new market areas”. Projected 2012 turnover for the new group is expected to be approximately €75 million. Eastavab, which employs 45 people, posted net sales of €23.1 million for 2010.

"Our strategy together with Eastavab management is to build a leading player in the Nordic audiovisual equipment rental market,” says Olli Liitola, senior partner at CapMan and responsible for Eastavab investment. “The merger with Sweden's top equipment rental company Starlight is a significant step towards achieving this goal. We see major growth potential in Sweden both organically and through acquisitions."

"Starlight is an excellent addition to Eastavab Group,” adds Trond Lutdal, CEO of Eastavab. “Through the merger, we are establishing a true Nordic platform with the scale, product range, competence and geographic presence to provide customers and partners with the industry's best solutions, services and products. Furthermore, we can achieve greater efficiency in operations and significant synergies in, for example, purchasing of equipment [while] sharing best practices and optimising our offering in the Nordic [region].”

Completion of the transaction is subject to certain conditions being fulfilled and it is expected to occur during May 2012. Following the merger, the owners of Starlight will become shareholders in the holding company Eastavab Group.

CapMan Group, established in 1989 and listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange since 2001, is one of the leading private equity firms in the Nordic countries and Russia, with assets under management of €3.1 billion.

The picture shows an Eastway/AVAB-CAC festival project from the CapMan archive.



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