Orkla to bolster brush maker

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The family that has owned the Norwegian firm best known for its toothbrushes, Jordan, said it was “very, very sad” to sell after six generations but they were glad another Norwegian firm, industrial concern Orkla, was taking over.

Orkla made the best offer after a spirited bidding camp that involved both Norwegian and international firms and finance groups. Orkla, which specializes in brand-name household products, is paying NOK 1.18 billion (around USD 400 million) for the company that was founded by comb-maker Wilhelm Jordan in 1837 in Oslo, when the capital was still known as Christiania.

Jordan has 622 employees, with dental hygiene and cleaning products making up 45 percent of its business. Jordan remains market leader in the Nordic countries and sells its toothbrushes in 40 countries, but the sixth generation of Jordan’s descendants no longer felt they were best positioned to develop the business.

“We think Orkla can handle that better than us,” chief executive and part-owner Per-Arnfinn Brekke told newspaper Aftenposten last week. Jordan was managed by non-family members from 1938 but the family took over control again in 2007 when they felt the firm needed restructuring. They’ve since separated the paint-brush division from the toothbrushes, other dental hygiene products and wash cloths.

Views and News staff