Scandinavian transaction gives AXXE new wings to fly on and funds to continue growth momentum

Company Name AXXE
Transaction Sell-side
Website Open
Sector Industry & Production
Tags Strategic

With the sale of the Norwegian electronics manufacturer AXXE to Swedish Inission AB, the company has succeeded in finding a partner who has both the means and the will to make necessary investments that prepare the operation for the future - while securing vital jobs in the local community.

AXXE is an order manufacturer of electronics (EMS), that has played a significant role for the small town of Halden in southern Norway for more than 40 years. The company and its 55 employees are focused on tests and manufacture of advanced printed circuit boards (PCBs), box-build devices. Products originating from the AXXE plant in Halden are known to be of high quality and are typically used in applications that require precision, robustness and reliability of their electronic equipment. AXXE manufactures everything from cattle-tracking systems to off-shore gas sensor systems, which must operate stably under extreme conditions. And, in line with current trends in home-sourcing, AXXE is also well on its way to positioning itself in the arena of high-volume manufacturing.

Necessary investments

CEO Øystein Back has overseen the sale of AXXE to the larger EMS Inission, headquartered in Sweden with subsidiaries in Norway, Finland, Estonia, Italy, the USA and Tunisia. The electronics company in Halden has been Øystein Back's workplace since 1995, but only became known as AXXE following a management buy-out in 2007, of which Øystein Back was a part. The next decade, however, was not a walk in the park. Øystein Back says: "There were a few tough years until 2019; the company had challenges in attracting skills and talent, and we were not competitive. Internally we disagreed on the way forward." In 2020, Øystein Back faced up to the challenge by securing a majority stake in AXXE and stepping in as CEO. In a short time - and faster than anyone thought possible - he managed to get the company on track.

It is therefore a healthy, growing company, which now comes under Inission’s wings. Regarding the background of the sale, Øystein Back comments: "The purpose of the sale is to maintain our momentum. We have achieved good results, but we need equipment and automation to stay competitive. It would have taken us longer to earn the funds for it. With Inission as a partner, we can already make the necessary investments that will secure the future of our company and maintain vital jobs in an area where they are sorely needed."

Several interested buyers

When it became clear to Øystein Back that a sale of AXXE could be the boost the company needed, he started looking for an acquisition specialist to help him with the process. "On the web, I quickly stumbled upon Marktlink and liked the communication on their website. I saw that they had an office in Copenhagen and got in touch. We held an online meeting on Monday, and on Tuesday they came to Halden. It was 'love at first sight' and we started the process right away," he laughs.

Marktlink's task as a representative of AXXE has been to prepare the sales material, organize the process, bring in potential buyers and mediate in the negotiation processes. Jesper Fogh Duelund from the Danish Marktlink team says: "The most important thing was, of course, to find the right buyer. It has been process of elimination, where we were finally left with the ideal partner. For Øystein it was probably a tough journey, but having more than one potential buyer on hand has given him negotiating power that has ultimately led to an optimal result."

"With Inission as a partner, we can speed up necessary investments."
- Øystein Back, CEO AXXE

The future of the company is secured

For Øystein Back, the most important thing in the negotiations has been to get the buyer to commit to investing in AXXE. He says: "Marktlink quickly understood what I wanted to achieve. In negotiations, I can be a bit stubborn, but Marktlink, as mediator, found the right level and balance between both parties. We got everything we wanted out of the sale into the contract, and I felt safe throughout the process. I'm very happy with Jesper and his team, and I can't imagine what they could have done better." For the next three years, Øystein Back will continue as CEO of AXXE, which will also retain its name and brand during this period. After that, the company will probably be renamed in line with Inission's other companies, and Øystein Back will return to his role as Head of Sales and Business Development – a role which suits him much better: "I took on the CEO role because it was necessary, not because I really wanted to. With our new partner, it will be possible for me to eventually return to doing what I like best," concludes Øystein Back. With the agreement, which was closed in January 2024, Jesper Duelund looks back on an exciting and positive process between various Scandinavian parties: "This case is an example of a genuine Scandinavian transaction with a Norwegian seller, a Swedish buyer and a Danish advisor, where we have all been able to understand each other, even though we have spoken our own languages. I am also impressed by how Øystein has always put the interests of the local community, employees and customers first when it came to finding the right partner."

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