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Investment summary:

Fund: PCI V

Owning period: 2014-ongoing

Revenues 2013: 183 MSEK

Revenues 2014: 252 MSEK

Previous owner: Founders

Current owner: PCI V

 

Business description:

Pierce is a leading online retailer active within the Motocross (24MX), Motorcycle (XLmoto) and Snowmobile industries (Sledstore). Pierce has the market’s widest and deepest product assortment and offers top brands as well as private label products. The company was established in 2009 by the two entrepreneurs Stefan Rönn and Daniel Petersen, and today it operates in 14 European markets.

 

Background:

Pierce has expanded successfully to become the largest online retailer within the motocross segment in the Nordics. However, high growth rates entail challenges and in 2014 the founders felt the need for a partner to continue developing their business into a European market leader.

 

“Growing 40% per annum transforming a very entrepreneurial business to a larger company is very exciting but it also creates new challenges. We felt the need for a partner to take the company to the next level and Procuritas has been a real business-partner. To give you an example, before Procuritas stepped in we had board meetings every lunch, at the pizzeria, because it was only me and Daniel in the board. But since partnering in 2014, thanks to Procuritas, the board of directors has been extended and become more professionalized which has been very positive for the business.” Stefan Rönn COO & Co-founder at Pierce 2009-ongoing.

 

Investment hypothesis:

The investment hypothesis is to build Pierce into a clear online market leader for motocross customers across Europe and to build a strong position in selected markets for the on-road motorcycle and snowmobile segments.

During the due diligence, Procuritas identified a strong online shift in the motocross industry across Europe, driven by geographically spread customers combined with a weak physical retail channel with limited capacity to hold a wide product assortment in stock. Thus, online retail offers passionate motocross customers a superior product offering and better delivery terms. The customer purchasing pattern is also suitable for online since customers ride motocross frequently and have high share of wear-and-tear, leading to repeat purchases.

At the time of acquisition, Pierce was the clear market leader for motocross in the Nordics and showed very fast growth in several European countries. Moreover, the company had a superior product assortment compared to all competitors and a large database detailing which spare parts that fit which motocross or motorcycle.

 

Value added:

Before the acquisition of Pierce a value creation plan was established jointly with management, and implementation begun immediately. “Together with Procuritas we defined a value-creation plan focusing on the key value drivers for the business including how to maintain high growth with good profitability and how to build an organization that doesn’t stand and fall with me or Daniel. We have made several key recruitments to strengthen our team during the first year with Procuritas.” Stefan Rönn COO & Co-founder at Pierce 2009-currently.

Other areas in focus included business processes and financing of the operations. “Procuritas has helped a lot in improving the structure of the business and has been a great sounding board. We have already learned a lot from this experience, for example regarding the financing of the business – an area in which Procuritas has made a significant value contribution.”

Moreover, since the acquisition the management team has obtained a more balanced view on business risk according to Stefan Rönn. “Before Procuritas, Daniel and I owned 100% of the company shares. Everything we owned was tied up in Pierce, but now the balance is better. This enables us to have a long term perspective and take necessary risks in order to grow the business to the next level.”

 

Result:

During the first year with Pierce, the company growth momentum is intact. Revenues and margins have improved substantially, a number of key recruitments has been made and the financial structure has improved.

 

“Since PCI V became an owner business has developed incredibly well. Our turnover has increased by 43% in only a year and margins have improved. The number of employees has increased from 50 to 70 in the same timeframe. Going forward, we are well on track to become the European market leader by 2019 with a turnover of 1 BSEK. That is what we are building the business for and it feels great to have Procuritas onboard for this journey.” Stefan Rönn COO & Co-founder at Pierce 2009-ongoing.

 

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