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Swedish rugged tablet maker in €42m deal

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty


The Handheld Group, a Swedish manufacturer of rugged mobile computers, has been acquired by MilDef, a Swedish military equipment maker, in a deal worth over SEK350m (€33m).

“It is rare that two companies within the same area of business not only are likeminded in company culture, but also complement each other’s businesses in such a good way. I am excited about the possibilities that this creates and look forward to continuing building Handheld under the MilDef umbrella,” said said Thomas Löfblad, CEO of the Handheld Group, which is based in Lidköpin and has 60 staff in offices in Finland, the UK, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Australia and the USA. It will continue to be run as a subsidiary of Mildef.

“This deal will help us boost our future businesses moving forward,”  he said.

When asked about manufacturing in Europe, he said “We will together work out where the best synergies will be but without a doubt our companies complement each other in a fantastic way.”

Handheld has 700 customers across more than 80 countries for its rugged Android-based tablets and smartphones.

Last week it launched the Algiz RT10, an ultra-rugged 10-inch Android tablet with 5G wireless and IP67 rating that weighs 980g (2.1 lb). This is based on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 5G platform and Android 11 operating system with a u-blox NEO M8U chipset for GNSS location data using GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS and BeiDou.

In 2021, the company had revenue of SEK191m and expect double digit growth in 2022. If it hits its targets,  Mildef will pay an additional SEK100m (€9.4m)

“The acquisition of Handheld serves several purposes for MilDef’s expansion. In terms of products, we will be strengthened in areas where MilDef previously had some gaps, in terms of organization we will gain access to priority geographical markets and in terms of operations both businesses will be equipped with complementary skills and capabilities. Of particular interest is Handheld’s successful operation in the USA, where we see good potential for a joint effort to grow this important market. The businesses have very little overlap and complement each other well. We look forward to building something bigger and better together,” says Björn Karlsson, CEO MilDef Group, which is based in Helsingborg, Sweden.

The company delivers tactical IT, including rugged hardware, software, and services to over 160 customers through subsidiaries in Sweden, Norway, Finland, the UK and US.

www.mildef.com; www.handheldgroup.com

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