UPDATED: Dale of Norway has been knitting and selling Norwegian sweaters in Vestlandet since 1879. Now it’s being sold to French sporting goods maker Rossignol and acquistion fund Altor, after a major turnaround that revived the small company less than a decade ago.
The seller is Hilde Midthjell, who made her first fortune in the cosmetics business in Norway and then invested in Dale (pronounced “Dah-leh”) in 2009. After modernizing designs, expanding product lines and retail outlets, Midthjell turned losses into profits and claims she’s now “proud to turn over ownership of Dale to Altor and Rossignol.” Midthjell called Rossignol the “ideal partner” for Dale in terms of brands and traditions. No financial terms of the deal were disclosed, but newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported Midthjell stands to log a gain on the sale of as much as NOK 300 million.
The company will continue to be based in the small community of Dale in Vaksdal, between Bergen and Voss. Midthjell wrote in a press release Wednesday that Rossignol wants to transfer production of its own knitwear to Dale, and that Dale (which has long produced ski sweaters for Norway’s national ski teams) will “preserve its brand name and its Norwegian image.”
The company currently has 68 employees producing pure wool products of “high quality and durability.” Dale sweaters are found in hundreds of thousands of Norwegian homes and hytter, and it’s not unusual that 30- to 40-year-old Dale sweaters are still being worn.
Dale also now produces water-proof outdoor wear, children’s clothing, fashion wear and othe wool accessories. Dale uses Norwegian yarn in 35 to 40 percent of its collection. DN reported that operating revenues are expected to reach NOK 130 million this year with a profit “considerably higher” than last year’s NOK 23.3 million.