A new €250 million private equity fund focusing on the Balkan region and the Baltic countries launched by KJK Management of Luxembourg in 2018, called KJK Fund III S.C.A. SICAV-RAIF, has agreed to acquire all the shares of the Elan group, whose snow sports equipment operations continue to perform well. The transaction, whose terms were not disclosed, is expected to close in the middle of 2019, after receiving anti-trust merger clearance.

The diversified Slovenian group had already been sold in 2015 to Wiltan Enterprises, a Cyprus-based company reportedly controlled by Russian interests, with a small stake of 4.9 percent assigned to Merrill Lynch International in exchange for debt (see SGI Europe Vol. 26 N° 25+26 of Oct. 8, 2015).

Meanwhile, a top manager of Elan indicated to us that its winter sports division continued to grow at a double-digit rate in 2018, after posting a 16 percent sales increase in the previous year, thanks to the launch of some innovative ski products, the previously reported recovery of its distribution in the U.S. and the deployment of a new brand approach under the “Always Good Times” tagline.

The division's strategy is now completely focused on alpine skiing. The rising demand for its skis already led Elan to stop manufacturing snowboards at its Slovenian factory in Begunje in 2017. A line of Elan branded snowboards is still offered for the rental market, but it is manufactured in Asia.

For the next autumn/winter season, Elan is offering two new ranges of ski products based on the third generation of its Amphibio technology as well as a new, versatile line of all-mountain skis called Wringman. It will also market a new, exclusive system of bindings, called Fusion X, developed in collaboration with Tyrolia, which will go well with its previously launched folding skis with rotating plates.