Thule Group

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Thule Group AB
Aktiebolag
Traded asNasdaq StockholmTHULE
IndustryConsumer goods
FoundedHillerstorp, Småland, Sweden (1942)
FounderErik Thulin
HeadquartersMalmö, Sweden
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Bengt Baron
(Board Member)
ProductsCar roof boxes, roof racks, bike racks, laptop and camera bags and backpacks
RevenueSEK 5,320 million (2015)[1]
SEK 825 million (2015)[1]
SEK 587 million (2015) [1]
Total assetsSEK 6,899 million (2015)[1]
Total equitySEK 3,228 million (2015)[1]
Number of employees
2,200 (September 2014)[1]
WebsiteThuleGroup.com
Thule.com

Thule Group AB (/ˈtl/) is the owner of a collection of brands related to outdoor and transportation products. It is the market leader in cargo carriers for automobiles and a leading company in the outdoor and bags market, with 4,700 points of sale in 136 countries worldwide. The Thule motto is "Bring your life".[1]

History[edit]

Thule was founded in 1942 by the Thulin family in Hillerstorp, southern Sweden. The company grew steadily, especially in the 1960s when Thule specialized in roof racks and other automobile accessories facilitating for the car owner to bring their outdoor equipment and luggage with them. In 1979, Thule was sold to Eldon, a company listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange, which continued to develop the company. In 1999 Eldon was acquired by the private equity firm EQT and delisted. Thule was then sold to the UK-based private equity firm Candover in 2004, which embarked on significant M&A activity, growing the turnover more than three times, adding new product lines such as towbars, car trailers, snow chains, RV products and bags for electronic devices.

Thule was acquired by Nordic Capital in May 2007 but forced into a restructuring in December 2008 at the height of the Global Financial Crisis, resulting in the lending bank consortium receiving an equity stake in the company. Nordic Capital acquired the remainder of the company in December 2010 and listed Thule on the Stockholm Stock Exchange in November 2014 through an IPO.[1]

Thule Group has an annual tradition of donating backpacks and school supplies to the children of Casa de la Esperanza, an award-winning housing program for migrant farm workers and their families in the US. Since 2010, Thule Group has been the main sponsor of RBU, Sweden’s National Association for Disabled Children and Adolescents.

Products[edit]

Thule is the largest and most well-known of the brands that make up the group.[2] The Thule product line includes everything from car roof boxes, bike racks, roof racks and strollers to laptop and camera bags, tablet and mobile phone cases, backpacks, luggage and roof top tents. The other brands that form the Thule Group brand portfolio are the US-founded cover and bag company Case Logic,[3] SportRack Inc.[4], the Canadian brand Chariot[5], the Dutch company Yepp[6] and the Californian company Tepui.[7][8]

Sportworks bike rack on a Volvo B7RLE GoBus in 2017
Bus with patented[9] bicycle carrier in use

Timeline[edit]

  • 1962 – Introduction of Thule sport and cargo carriers
  • 2004 – Acquisition of Köning (snow chains)
  • 2005 – Acquisition of Omnistor (RV products), rebranded Thule 2009
  • 2005 – Acquisition of Sportworks car rack product line[10]
  • 2007 – Acquisition of Case Logic (bags for electronic devices), premium line rebranded Thule 2010
  • 2007 – Acquisition of UWS (work gear)
  • 2011 – Acquisition of Chariot Carriers, rebranded Thule in 2013
  • 2011 – Opening of Thule Store near Mobilia shopping center in Malmö, on the premises that previously housed the old stocking factory Malmö Strumpfabrik.[11]
  • 2013 – Introduction of Thule sport and travel bags
  • 2014 – The towbar and trailer businesses are divested
  • 2015 – The snow chain business (König) is divested
  • 2016 – Acquisition of GMG B.V. (Yepp child bike seats)[12]
  • 2017 – UWS is divested[13]
  • 2018 (Feb) – Opening of Thule Store in Stockholm[14]
  • 2018 (Dec) – Acquisition of the North American rooftop tents company Tepui Outdoors Inc.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Thule Group IPO Prospectus 2014
  2. ^ Thule Brands
  3. ^ https://www.caselogic.com
  4. ^ http://www.sportrack.com
  5. ^ http://www.chariotcarriers.com
  6. ^ http://www.yepp.nl
  7. ^ https://tepui.com/
  8. ^ a b "Thule Group acquires Tepui Outdoors". SNEWS. Dec 18, 2018. Retrieved Jan 6, 2019.
  9. ^ U.S. Patented carrier
  10. ^ Sportworks
  11. ^ Thule Store
  12. ^ "Thule Group acquires the Dutch child bike seat company GMG B.V." Thule Group. Jul 5, 2016. Retrieved Jan 6, 2019.
  13. ^ "Strategic review of the Specialty segment completed - the business related to pick-up truck tool boxes to be divested". Thule Group. Feb 10, 2017. Retrieved Jan 6, 2019.
  14. ^ "Thule Store: premiäröppning i Stockholm" (in Swedish). RESFREDAG. Feb 17, 2018. Retrieved Jan 6, 2019.