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CapMan and VaekstFonden become new shareholders in Danish IT company ECO-DAN A/S


ECO-DAN has developed a high-tech guidance system for automatic precision guidance of agricultural implements, self-propelled machines and tractors. The benefits for the farmers are increased effeciency and cost reductions due to higher travel speed; in some applications combined with a significant reduction in the use of pesticides. “Furthermore, the guidance system relieves the tractor driver from a demanding manual precision steering”, says ECO-DAN’s cofounder and CEO Thorkil Dahlgreen. The company’s core technology is computer vision and laser technology. “Compared to the well-known satellite-based GPS (Global Positioning) systems, ECO-DAN’s guidance system can be described as a LPS (Local Positioning) system, as the digital cameras guide by existing structures such as plant rows, ridges and furrows without any mechanical contact with plants or soil,” says Thorkil Dahlgreen.

ECO-DAN was elected as the winner of the European IST Prize 2002 in Europe’s most prominent competition for innovative products or services based on information technology.

CapMan is one of the leading private equity investors in the Nordic region and is listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange. After closing its newest private equity fund CapMan Equity VII in December 2002, the total size of funds managed/advised by CapMan is EUR 1,653 million (DKK 12.3 billion). CapMan’s remaining investment capacity is some EUR 500 million. VaekstFonden – owned by the Danish State – has a capital base of EUR 323 million (DKK 2.4 billion).

“High precision farming is an evolving market and we are confident that the market for automatic steering systems will grow significantly over the coming years,” says CapMan’s Investment Director, Tommy Valther Hansen. “This investment is CapMan’s first technology investment in Denmark and an important step towards establishing a strong foothold in this segment in Denmark,” adds Tommy Valther Hansen.

“Aside from the potential in ECO-DAN itself, we see this investment as another confirmation of our strategy to assist in attracting foreign capital to rather young Danish technology companies,” says Bent Lynghard, VaekstFonden’s Investment Manager.

NOVI emphasizes that the capital increase will allow ECO-DAN to focus on doing business rather than on short-term funding. “ECO-DAN is a unique IT-company and has a realistic opportunity to become a significant supplier of guidance systems based on outdoor use of computer vision,” says Thor Jespersen, NOVI’s Portfolio Manager.