VIKEN, SWEDEN—For a number of months speculation has swirled around flooring research and development company Välinge Flooring Technology (VFT) and its various subsidiaries as the two owners began a dispute that caused one party to accuse the other of illegal, hostile actions.
Those differences seem to have been resolved, as it was announced that Välinge Invest AB, owned by Darko Pervan, Välinge’s CEO, and his family will acquire all shares owned by Nordstjernan in VFT, which is the parent company of the Välinge Group (Välinge). The two had been equal owners, though Pervan did have an option to acquire a “golden share” to give the family majority ownership.
In February, Pervan announced the alliance between Välinge Invest, Nordstjernan and Krono had “eroded,” and several industrial and financial parties were “interested” in partnering a new alliance.
At the forefront of the dispute was an illegal board meeting “based on false and fabricated information,” Pervan said, regarding some inter company transactions related to the recently built R&D Centre here which replaced the one built in 2002.
Välinge’s management team and employees, along with its legal team, stopped the activities surrounding the meeting and, as a result, all Nordstjernan’s representatives resigned from VFT’s board and the law firm appointed by those people to assist the board also resigned.
The parties decided to let cooler heads prevail and resolve their differences outside the legal system instead of throwing barbs at each other.
The result is all sides agreeing to settle all disputes and let the Pervan family take a 100% stake in VFT. “Välinge is a unique company with good profitability,” said Tomas Billing, CEO of Nordstjernan, which has been a shareholder in Välinge since 2002. “During that time the company has evolved from a project company to a global leader. Earnings have multiplied 10 times and our investment has generated a high return.”
The deal also gives Pervan’s Välinge Invest group a 60% majority in Välinge International AB, which overseas Valinge Holding and Ceraloc Holding. The first handles the company’s locking systems technologies while the other is for the new surface technologies being developed for commercial use.
The remaining 40% of Välinge International is equally split between Kronospan (Kronospan Technical Holdings) and Kronotex (Flooring Technologies).
“Nordstjernan has been a shareholder in Välinge for eight years and has got a good return on its investment as a result of continuous technical development that has given Välinge a world leading position,” Pervan said. “The acquisition increases Välinge Invest shareholding from 50% to 100% of the parent company that owns 60% of Välinge. We are increasing our shareholding in order to streamline decision-making, to strengthen our long-term investment in new technologies and to diversify into other areas,” such as powder technology. (Editor’s note: FCNews will have extensive coverage of this innovation in an upcoming issue.)
As a result of the ownership change, a new board of directors will be selected with the Pervan family appointing six of them. Pervan himself will continue as CEO of Välinge and board chairman, and noted the new board members will each have a great deal of flooring industry experience.
“The first major issue for the board,” he explained, “will be to establish a new long term strategy for our 5G and powder technology. These new technologies, which will be protected by more than 1,000 patents, are of vital importance for our future profits. The most important patents have a lifetime until 2028 through 2031 and this means that we have secured a long-term income stream that could support our comprehensive R&D efforts.”
Välinge was founded in 1993 and has helped “revolutionize” the industry by developing and patenting click floors that allow laminate and wood floors, as well as luxury vinyl tile and even carpet to be installed without glue. It holds one of the most extensive patent portfolios in the industry and, as Perván noted, has been a very profitable company. Last year Välinge had an annual turnover of approximately $95 million.
For more on the company, visit valinge.se.