Denmark's Novo A/S enters hearing technology sector with Sonion purchase

COPENHAGEN, July 15 Tue Jul 15, 2014 3:27am EDT

COPENHAGEN, July 15 (Reuters) - Danish investment company Novo A/S said it bought hearing technology firm Sonion from Swedish private equity firm Altor, entering a market in which Denmark has been a major player for decades.

Sonion manufactures advanced miniature components such as high-end microphones and electromechanical components. Its applications are mainly for hearing aids but also in-ear earphones for musicians and electro-acoustic communication components for extreme environments.

Together with U.S. listed Knowles, it controls a major portion of the global market for advanced micro-acoustics. Sonion has over 3,200 employees and earned revenues of $154 million in 2013.

Novo A/S did not disclose the purchase price. "Unlike private equity companies, we are long-term investors," Chief Executive Eivind Kolding told Reuters.

The investment firm is the controlling shareholder in insulin maker Novo Nordisk and enzyme producer Novozymes, and a major shareholder in food ingredients maker Chr. Hansen Holding.

William Demant Holding and GN Store Nord are among a group of Danish companies that supply half of the world's hearing aids.

($1 = 5.4783 Danish crowns) (Reporting by Ole Mikkelsen, editing by John Stonestreet)