Investment summary

Fund: Fund V
Investment theme: Growth acceleration and Operational improvement
Investment date: January 2006
Exit date: March 2013

Business description

Permobil is a world leader in Advanced Rehab Powered Wheelchairs (PWC) for the top end of the complex rehabilitation market. Permobil's users are patients with severe mobility disabilities who require complex rehab functionality.

Founded as a family business in Timrå in the 1960s, Permobil operated across four continents and employed approximately 700 people in March 2013 when Nordic Capital Fund V divested the company.


The company's reputation has been built on innovation centered on an entrepreneurial spirit and genuine desire to 'make a difference' in the lives of its users. However, at a point in time these attributes were not enough to fuel the company's financial growth and global expansion. So after decades of being run as a family business Permobil realized they would need to bring in an external owner to succeed in these efforts.

In 2006, Nordic Capital (Fund V) acquired Permobil from the family of the founder Per Uddén, members of the corporate management, and the foundation Teknisk Hjälp åt Handikappade, with the purpose of giving Permobil the support and resources to focus on product development, R&D projects and international expansion.   

Over the next seven years Nordic Capital helped the company evolve from a family run business to a global market leader in the advanced top end segment of the PWC market.

Investment rationale

Permobil had a number of attractive investment characteristics; being seen as a pacesetting category leader, having strong customer loyalty and a dedicated company culture.

Additionally, Permobil had a strong market share within an attractive industry. At the time of Nordic Capital's acquisition it was evident that changing certain operational processes as well as conducting specific business measures would allow Permobil to scale and expand in a way that before had not been possible.  

Value added

By applying an operational improvement strategy coupled with a focus on strong organic growth, Nordic Capital supported Permobil in investing in product development as well expanding into new markets.

Under Nordic Capital's ownership Permobil professionalised its operating processes, adopted best in class business practices and elevated its competence with a top tier management team. Permobil also strengthened the competitive position through higher degree of Low-Cost-Country sourcing and established local production in the most important US market, to cater for the increased demand in that market.

Under the ownership of Nordic Capital between 2006 and 2013 Permobil almost doubled its sales and established a position as the global leader in the complex rehabilitation power wheelchair industry.


In March 2013, Permobil was sold to the Swedish investment company Investor AB. Founded by the Wallenberg family over a hundred years ago, Investor is a leading owner of high quality Nordic-based international companies.

View our other case studies >