Ratos acquired three manufacturers of office chairs in 2007: Swedish RH Form, Danish RBM and Norwegian HÅG. The new business group was named SB Seating the following year, with headquarters in Oslo. The brand names HÅG, RH Form and RBM were retained. Ratos had the ambition for these three companies to create a leading and profitable Nordic office chair manufacturer, with the potential to also expand throughout the rest of Europe. A common focus was on ergonomics, functional design and the environment. Synergies within purchasing, production and sales were going to be leveraged. There was also the potential to strengthen market presence, increase the rate of product development and expand further geographically. Product development and investment programs were also coordinated among the companies. With a focus on a higher share of purchased components, greater flexibility in production was created.
SB Seating developed into Scandinavia’s leading and most profitable office chair manufacturer. Despite a 20% reduction in sales from 2007-14, SB Seating was able to strengthen its market position and profitability. Its operating margin increased during that period from 13 to 21%. Lars I. Røiri was managing director of the company during Ratos seven-year ownership period. This is how he perceived Ratos role:
An active ownership, strategic and operational involvement, a close collaboration with SB Seating’s management and a focus on operational development. That all combined to result in our strong development. Characteristic of those who work at Ratos is respect, sensitivity and humility, combined with clear goals. ’Walk the talk’ characterises their involvement!
Ratos announced on July 7, 2014 that it had entered into an agreement for the sale of SB Seating to a private equity fund, Triton, for NOK 1.9 billion. The investment resulted in a surplus of NOK 1 billion for Ratos, and the sale resulted in an exit gain of approximately NOK 240 million (IRR 14%).
Lars I. Røiri remains tied to Ratos as a member of Ratos Norwegian Advisory Board.