Investment firm Axcel has acquired 55% of Ball Group, a fast-growing Danish clothing company.

Announcing the deal, Axcel said it plans to work with Ball's management to continue its expansion throughout the Nordic region and Northern Europe.

One of its strategies will be to strengthen Ball's network of franchise shops, it said.
Ball currently has 100 shops in Nordic countries. It expects turnover of DKK400m (US$70.14m) this year.

The remaining 45% of the retailer's shares will remain with its founders Peter and Anne Marie Nissen and family as well as the current management, who will all stay on.

Axcel managing partner Christian Frigast said: "We see Ball Group as a very exciting business. The company has developed strongly over the last couple of years, and particularly the brands aimed at the size 42+ segment provide a unique concept.

"Very few other European suppliers offer the same combination of fashion and large sizes."

Peter Nissen added: "Ball Group is well underway with our Nordic expansion plans, and we are also beginning to look south of the Danish border. In order to be able to lift this, we need new strengths, additional capital and not least a professional board and sparring on a daily basis."

Ball sells women's fashion clothing through a combination of wholesale, franchise and own shops. The products are marketed under two chain brands: Solo (standard sizes) and Zizzi (plus sizes). The company has shown annual growth rates of 30-35% over the past years.

The retailer has a broad supplier base in countries including China, India, Turkey and Great Britain.