EQT Mid Market Europe fund has announced that it has acquired a majority stake in Dunlop Protective Footwear, the leading global manufacturer of protective wellington boots, and will support the brand on its “global growth” ambitions.

The majority stake was acquired from Dunlop Protective Footwear’s current owner Gilde Equity Management Benelux who will remain a significant shareholder and will “continue to support the growth plans of the Company in close cooperation with EQT and Management,” the firm confirmed in a statement.

Dunlop Protective Footwear is the leading global manufacturer of branded protective wellington boots, serving professionals in numerous industries including agriculture and fishery, food processing, industry and oil, and gas and mining. It has more than 500 employees, production sites in the Netherlands, Portugal and the US, and sales activities around the world, serving customers in more than 50 countries.

EQT states in a press statement that its acquisition of the footwear company will support its global growth ambitions by “enhancing its go-to-market approach in the US”, as well as driving expansion in unnamed “underpenetrated and new geographies”, and by “fostering innovation and new product development”.

Dunlop Protective Footwear will continue to be supported by the existing executive team, led by chief executive Allard Bijlsma, while benefiting from EQT’s expertise within tech and digitalisation, which will include expand its e-commerce platform as well as supporting the company’s growth ambitions through add-on acquisitions.

Florian Funk, partner at EQT Partners and investment advisor to EQT Mid Market Europe, said in a statement: “EQT is honoured by GEM’s trust and grateful to have been granted an exclusive process. This enables us to work together in the future and build on the impressive track record of Dunlop Protective Footwear.

“We regard this outcome as a testimony to our EQT brand value and acknowledged reputation to help high-quality companies unlock their full potential. We are very excited to join the Dunlop journey and to support the management team in accelerating its global growth ambitions going forward.”

Allard Bijlsma, chief executive of Dunlop, added in a statement: “Our Dunlop Protective Footwear company has a clear plan towards the future, in which driving comfort and protection for our end users is the central theme. With our Dunlop brand and our best in class product offerings, like Purofort, we are acknowledged as the innovation leader in our business.

“I’m delighted that the EQT team has joined us to support our global roll-out and thus being able to accelerate on our ambitions. I’m convinced that EQT can deliver great value to our business by making use of their global network of experts in virtually every field.”

The transaction is subject to customary conditions and regulatory approvals and is expected to close in Q2, 2018.





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