Singer Sewing Company explores sale

13 March 2014

The Singer sewing machine company is exploring a sale that could fetch its owner private equity firm Kohlberg & Company more than $500 million, Reuters yesterday reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Singer, part of the world's largest sewing machine company, SVP Worldwide, is working with investment bank Harris Williams on the potential sale, the report said.

Singer, whose business dates back to 1851, was acquired by Kohlberg & Co in 2004 for $134 million and assumed debt.

Singer has been synonymous with sewing and is credited in launching the world's first zig-zag machine, the first electronic machines and home sewing and embroidery machine.

SVP Worldwide is the world's largest consumer sewing machine company selling its products in over 170 countries and holds over 30 per cent share of the global market.

The Tennessee-based company has manufacturing facilities in South America and Asia.

SVP was formed by 2006 merger of the Swedish VSM Group, which included the Husqvarna Viking and Pfaff brands, with Kohlberg, which owned the Singer brand. The company also sells machines for embroidery and quilting, as well as garment care products like irons and ironing boards.

The company has roughly $65 million in annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation, the sources said. It sells its products in more than 170 countries and has a greater than 30 per cent global market share, according to the Kohlberg web site.

Founded in 1851, Singer's machine improved over previous sewing machine models by allowing users to sew 900 stitches per minute, compared with the 250 stitches previously. The change allowed clothing to be made more quickly and cheaply, helping lead to the establishment of mass production in the fashion industry.

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