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 Source:  Cision

IK Investment Partners to sell Europris to Nordic Capital

IK Investment Partners (“IK”) has signed an agreement to sell Europris, the leading Norwegian integrated mixed discount retailer focused on non-food retail, to Nordic Capital. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

IK acquired Europris in September 2004, at which time the Company consisted of a wholesale business, a penny store concept and a franchise operation with a network of 136 stores across Norway. During its ownership, IK has successfully transformed Europris into an integrated wholesale/retail business and doubled chain revenues close to EUR 500 million in 2011.

IK has, together with management, also implemented a number of strategic initiatives and operational improvements to strengthen Europris’s market position and improve profitability. These initiatives include integration of the retail and wholesale business, a significant increase in direct sourcing and strengthening of procurement capabilities, restructuring of the supply chain in addition to a significant upgrade of store format and roll out of 66 new stores.

Trygve Grindheim, Partner, IK said: “We are pleased with the transformation of Europris during our ownership and we believe that the company is well positioned to benefit from the increasing penetration of discount retail in Norway. It has been a great pleasure working together with Bjorn Maarud and his management team and on behalf of IK, I would like to thank all of them for their hard work in building Europris into what it is today.”

Bjørn Maarud, CEO, Europris said: “We would like to thank IK for their active ownership. Europris has been transformed into an integrated wholesale/retail business and grown significantly, strengthening its position as the leading mixed discount retailer in Norway. Together with my management team I look forward to working together with Nordic Capital to drive the business forward during its next stage of development.”

Headquartered in Fredrikstad, Norway, Europris is the leading mixed retail discounter in Norway offering a broad assortment of both food and non-food products, catering for both everyday needs as well as destination shopping. The Company operates an extensive network of 196 stores across Norway, of which 93 are owned stores and 103 are franchised, in addition to six owned stores located in Iceland. Chain revenue is NOK 3.7 billion in 2011, close to EUR 500 million.

IK Investment Partners (“IK”) is a Pan-European private equity firm focused on investments in three regions; the Nordics, Germany/CEE and France Benelux. The current portfolio comprises 21 companies with total turnover of close to €7.5 billion and over 47,000 employees.

This acquisition is subject to customary conditions including anti-trust approval.  


National Guard Troops Respond to Midwestern. Southern Tornadoes 

Source:  American Forces Press Services

By Army Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill and Air Force Tech. Sgt. John Orrell
National Guard Bureau

ARLINGTON, Va. – More than 500 National Guard members are supporting civilian authorities in five states today after the second night this week of devastating tornadoes in the Midwest and the South.  More than 350 Indiana National Guard troops started providing search and rescue, debris removal, traffic control and presence patrols within hours of a tornado strike yesterday afternoon in the southern part of the state, according to National Guard Bureau officials and Army Maj. Shawn Gardner, state public affairs officer.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to the individuals in southern Indiana who have suffered this tragic loss,” Gardner said. “The Indiana National Guard stands ready to help and assist in whatever manner they may need to help them recover from this tragedy.”  At least 10 states were affected by tornadoes that struck.

National Guard troops were on the ground or being called out to support civilian authorities in Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and West Virginia.

Army 2nd Lt. Sean Jones meets with local authorities in LaRue County, Ky., March 1, 2012, to coordinate the Kentucky National Guard mission following the tornado that struck the community of Hodgenville on Feb. 29, 2012. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Scott Raper

In Indiana, Gardner credited the rapid response to state leaders and strong relationships between the National Guard and civilian authorities long before up to 16 tornadoes hit yesterday, killing at least 13 people, injuring others and destroying the town of Maryville, home to 2,166 people.  “The Indiana Department of Homeland Security and the National Guard have a tight working relationship with great leadership who stand ready to respond to any natural or man made disaster that may happen within the state of Indiana,” Gardner said.

Indiana Guard members also were helping Emergency Medical Service personnel evacuate patients and deliver critically needed medication and providing aviation support, among other missions, Guard Bureau officials reported.  More than 100 Guard members are on duty in Missouri, hit by tornadoes Feb. 29 and yesterday. The Missouri National Guard has focused its continued efforts in Taney County, around Branson in southwestern Missouri.  “We are here to assist the local police department [and] fire department with … debris removal, presence patrols, security to prevent looting and any other assistance that the city would need from us,” said Army Col. Gregory Mason, Missouri’s assistant adjutant general.

“We’re glad to be able to help people, said Army Maj. Gen. Stephen Danner, Missouri’s adjutant general. “Our motto as the governor says is to help good people through bad times. With 11,600 airmen and soldiers, there’s no skill set on the civilian side that you can’t find somewhere in the Missouri National Guard. That makes it very valuable when we come in, because if there is a specific mission or specific skill set that is required, we can usually find someone in the Guard to bring in for that.”

The Army Guard’s 35th Engineer Brigade out of Fort Leonard Wood is overseeing the response effort in Missouri.  “We get the mission done,” Danner said. “When lives are at stake, the governor is insistent: He has a four-point plan where he talks about, ‘You’ve got to come in, and first thing is safety and security, rescue, and then recovery — and then your after-action reports to improve what you’ve done.’ Governor Nixon is very insistent that we use a methodical process to ensure that our mission is successful every time. That’s what has worked for the Guard.  “It’s important that we let the citizens know we are here to assist the local law enforcement, city police and the county who have done a tremendous job in ensuring the safety of the citizens here, but also the security of their valuables until they’re able to retrieve them,” he added.

In Kentucky, about 80 Guard members are assisting local authorities with medical support, security and traffic control.  “The Guard being here means safety,” said Hodgenville, Ky., Mayor Terry L. Cruse, whose community was hit hard Feb. 29. “These people have lost a lot, and to have the security the soldiers provide, it’s one less thing they have to worry about.”

In West Virginia, about 20 Guard members were assisting with debris removal after severe weather affected 10 counties Feb. 28, bringing heavy rains that caused flash flooding.  After up to 16 tornadoes struck Alabama yesterday — including a near direct hit on a state prison — the Alabama National Guard is mobilizing, Guard Bureau officials said.

The Missouri National Guard’s Army Pfc. Collin Chenoweth said being in the National Guard gives him a chance to help a chance that most citizens don’t have. “A lot of people want to help and can’t,” he said. “Being in the Guard gives me the opportunity.”

(Kentucky and Missouri National Guard officials contributed to this report.)


Bishop T.D. Jakes and Codeblack Entertainment Highlight Awareness for America’s Missing Persons of Color.

— Woman Thou Art Loosed!: On the 7th Day Will Help Bring National Awareness to This Crisis


Dallas, TXBishop T.D. Jakes, senior pastor at The Potter’s House of Dallas, Inc. and Codeblack Entertainment, announce their joint support of the Black and Missing Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization that brings awareness to missing persons of color.  According to recent statistics, persons of color make up an estimated 40 percent of missing people in the United States. Of that 85 percent were Black – far greater than their approximately 13 percent share of the U.S. population and yet they were the subject of fewer than 23 percent of all news reports.

The collaboration was created as a campaign to support the April 13 theatrical release of Woman Thou Art Loosed! On the 7th Day, produced by T.D. Jakes and distributed by Codeblack Entertainment.  The film’s plot elements deal with the impact of abduction on an African-American family.  Outreach offered at The Potter’s House along with the vital information and awareness championed by the Black and Missing Foundation, Inc. created an opportunity to form a relationship to address the issue of abduction in the film and the lack of media coverage when persons of color are reported missing.

Black and Missing Foundation, Inc. (BAM FI) was established as a non-profit organization, by a veteran law enforcement official and public relations specialist, whose mission is to bring awareness to missing persons of color, provide vital resources and tools to missing person’s families and friends and to educate the minority community on personal safety.  “African Americans are unlikely to receive a national alert or to be featured in the media when their loved ones go missing,” said Bishop T.D. Jakes. “In an effort to bring awareness and help turn the tide on these daunting statistics, Codeblack Entertainment and The Potter’s House are helping to bring this issue to the forefront.”

Woman Thou Art Loosed!: On the 7th Day Photo credit: Cook Allender

To do just that, The Potter’s House has created a multi-tiered relationship. BAM FI will be featured at the popular MEGA TOTZ and MEGA KIDZ conferences held June 29th and 30th and July 19th-21st, respectively.  At both conferences, the foundation will be able to present safety workshops as well as provide child identification kits so that families are prepared in a crisis.  The Potter’s House Center for Counseling and Behavioral Health has joined the efforts and will be listed as a resource for BAM FI clients and will be open to serve individuals and families referred by the trailblazing foundation.

Additional efforts will increase awareness through scheduled posts and campaigns via Facebook, Twitter and in-house correspondence to all five churches under The Potter’s House umbrella.  Additionally, Codeblack Entertainment will help further awareness, education and support of BAM FI through a variety of traditional, non-traditional and social media marketing efforts.  “It is so important to educate our community on this issue, especially since an overwhelming number of missing persons in the United States are of color,” said Derrica Wilson, co-founder, Black and Missing Foundation, Inc. “We are so pleased that The Potter’s House along with Bishop T.D. Jakes and Codeblack Entertainment will use their platform to help find our missing men, women and children.”

The Foundation asserts that relationships with organizations are key, but that any effort can help bring a loved one home.  “Together we can find the thousands of individuals missing from our communities and bring them home or provide much needed closure for their families,” said Natalie Wilson, co-founder, Black and Missing Foundation, Inc. “We can all play a part-big or small- in addressing this issue.”

This dramatic thriller stars Golden Globe® Nominee Blair Underwood (Madea’s Family Reunion, Set It Off) and Sharon Leal (Why Did I Get Married Too?, This Christmas). Also starring Nicole Beharie (American Violet), Nicoye Banks (NBC’s “Law & Order”), Emmy Award® Nominee Pam Grier (2012, The Man with the Iron Fists, Just Wright), Reed R. McCants (Civil Brand) and Jaqueline Fleming (2012, Contraband; HBO’s “Tremé”).

Directed by award-winning filmmaker Neema Barnette, Woman Thou Art Loosed!: On the 7th Day underscores the impact of secrets, lies and deception on the lives of the featured characters.  Produced and distributed by Codeblack Entertainment and executive produced by T.D. Jakes for T.D.J Enterprises.

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