What’s next for the Nordic private equity market?

The Nordic private equity market is one of the most active markets in Europe. But how is it affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, and where do we see future opportunities?

Every year, stakeholders from the Nordic and UK-based asset management communities get together at the Nordic Private Equity Forum. The forum is a partnership with the UK and Nordic Private Equity & Venture Capital Associations, and NVCA is one of the main partners. 

At yesterday’s event, participants discussed the year ahead for private equity activity in the Nordics, and whereas last year’s event was focused on climate change, the corona pandemic was one of this year’s main topics. 

An uncertain world

Director at Summa Equity, Hannah Gunvor Jacobsen, was one of the headliners at the event. Hannah talked about how Summa Equity is investing to solve global challenges and gave advise to what other businesses can do to help:

 “The world is characterised by uncertainty on so many levels, spanning all the way from Covid-19 to the Black Lives Matter movement, forest fires and major challenges concerning diversity and inclusion,” she said.

She highlighted that good KPIs is Summa’s solution to meet these challenges:

“If you look at the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals these are really 17 problems which the world needs to solve. At Summa we measure SDG’s across our portfolio and use ESG assessments to reduce risks,” she said.

Alternative strategies

NVCA’s Ellen Amalie Vold participated as moderator in a panel on alternative strategies, together with Michiel Boorsma (Beechbrook Capital), Fredrik Brynildsen (KLAR Partners), and Emanuel Johnsson (Verdane). The panelists discussed how the market has developed in recent years, with more choices, complexity and flexibility than ever before:

“The market is getting more competitive as more players join in. But I also think there’s lots of good deals to be done,” said Boorsma. 

“As competition in the Nordic PE market is growing, do you believe that there’s a need to become a specialist in order to succeed?”

“The more capital that’s changing hands, the harder you’ll have to look for the alpha and that means you have to specialise. You need to add more value, which comes from sector knowledge and understanding the challenges managers meets on a daily basis, and then again be able to use that knowledge in other similar situations,” said Brynhildsen. 

“Alternative strategies as a way to differentiate has been discussed in larger markets such as the US for a long time. Is the Nordic PE market going in the same direction?” 

“We’ve seen this change go on for some time in the Nordics – it’s all part of the globalisation. There’s currently a lot of interest in the private equity market, and not only in the money but also people who wants to engage, especially in the technology field,” Johnsson concluded.