H.I.G. Completes First Investment in Nordics with Acquisition of Consumer Finance Leader Freedom FinancePlan to develop a leading pan-Nordic consumer focused price comparison business
LONDON – 15 May 2013 – H.I.G. Europe, the European arm of global private equity firm H.I.G. Capital, today announced its first Nordic investment with the acquisition of Freedom Finance Nordic, the largest prime consumer loan broker operating in Sweden, Norway and Finland. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
H.I.G. Europe brings relevant experience from the more mature UK consumer finance market and will support the Company’s rapid growth trajectory to create a larger company offering a full online price comparison service, covering multiple products, from personal loans and insurance to utilities.
Carl Harring, Managing Director at H.I.G. Europe, said: “We are delighted to have partnered with Freedom Finance, already the largest broker of its kind in all three countries and the only pan-Nordic platform. We see a huge opportunity to offer consumers a fast, trusted route to obtaining the best terms on financial products. Freedom Finance’s customers make a substantial saving every time they use the service; it is a great customer value proposition.
Freedom Finance is very well positioned to capitalise on changing Nordic behaviour as consumers are increasingly comparing products and services before buying, just like they have been doing in the UK for the last 5 -10 years. The improved service level and the sheer cost saving delivered is a winning formula.”
Freedom Finance was established in Sweden in 2003. Ten years on, the Company now has a sophisticated online platform, a rich proprietary database and brings together over twenty of the largest banks and mortgage companies onto one platform in order to help the user to compare and find the best loan product. The Company has completed over 1.5 million loan applications for customers in Sweden, Norway and Finland, whilst at the same time has achieved higher customer satisfaction levels than the high street banks. The company has a total of 165 employees in Ängelholm, Bergen and Espoo. Headquartered in Sweden, and the majority of the company’s employees are professional loan officers.
Freedom Finance has built a trusted brand – with 80% of customers have used the Company’s services more than once. Critically, its large scale allows for the largest and broadest set of lender relationships in the Nordics, a key competitive advantage in ensuring the best terms for the customer and also in bringing added value to its lending panel partners. The business is well placed to introduce new product verticals to its existing customers.
The Nordic unsecured loan brokerage market has grown rapidly over the last five years and is forecast to continue to increase, driven by growing consumer spending and the wider availability of financing. Consumers are to a greater extent using both local and international consumer finance lenders, who see brokers such as Freedom Finance as a critical channel partner.
Joakim Mandorsson, CEO Sweden, Freedom Finance said: “Freedom Finance has grown rapidly across the Nordics by enabling customers to easily compare loans from a large number of lenders and to get the loan that is right for them while making a substantial saving at the same time. We are very excited to be partnering with H.I.G. who share both our vision for growth and commitment to our customers and partners. With H.I.G.’s financial and operational support, we will be able to continue our significant investments into our systems and team in order to continue leading the market for the long term. ”
About Freedom Finance
Freedom Finance is the leading Nordic unsecured consumer loan broker with operations in Sweden, Norway and Finland. Founded in 2003, the company today markets, processes, and distributes loan applications for all unsecured borrowing uses such as loan refinancing, vehicle purchase, holiday financing and home refurbishments. Through its co-operation with more than 20 lenders, Freedom Finance is able to provide highly competitive terms for borrowers across a broad range of credit profiles, thereby providing a free, rapid and effective comparison service to the benefit of potential borrowers. The Company is headquartered in Ängelholm (Sweden) with offices in Bergen (Norway) and Espoo (Finland) and currently employs more than 100 fulltime employees. For more information visit: www.freedomfinance.se, www.centum.no and www.freedomrahoitus.fi.
About H.I.G. Capital
H.I.G. Capital is a leading global private equity investment firm with more than €9 billion of equity capital under management and a team of more than 250 investment professionals. Based in Miami, and with offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, New York, and San Francisco in the U.S., as well as international affiliate offices in London, Hamburg, Madrid, Paris and Rio de Janeiro, H.I.G. specialises in providing capital to small and medium-sized companies with attractive growth potential. H.I.G. invests in management-led buyouts and recapitalizations of profitable and well managed businesses. Since its founding in 1993, H.I.G. invested in and managed more than 200 companies worldwide. The firm’s current portfolio includes more than 80 companies with combined revenues in excess of €22 billion.