Proventus first acquired the Swedish crystal company Kosta Boda in 1982. After a successful turnaround based on better marketing and improved product design, Kosta Boda established a distinct position for itself as one of the prime crystal brands in Sweden. Since the company was too small to build a presence internationally, Proventus strove to merge Kosta Boda with its main competitor, Orrefors. After lengthy negotiations, Kosta Boda was sold to Orrefors in late 1989, and Proventus sold its shares in the merged entity in 1991.

The new group, Orrefors Kosta Boda, concentrated on rationalizing its production. However, it lost its focus on marketing and design. Due to a weak ownership structure and lack of strategic positioning, the merged company was unable to build its international presence. For a period of five years following the merger, the company failed to show any growth.

Knowing the industry and the company very well, Proventus in August 1994 began to build a stake in Orrefors Kosta Boda. A Proventus’ representative was elected to the board of directors in May of 1995. During 1996, it became obvious to Proventus that the prevailing ownership structure made it virtually impossible to initiate any transformation to capture the company’s inherent potential.

In October 1996, Proventus launched a tender offer to acquire up to 50% of Orrefors Kosta Boda. After negotiations with the other large shareholders, a consortium, consisting of Proventus, the Danish glass and porcelain company Royal Copenhagen and the private equity fund Scandinavian Equity Partners, acquired 100% of Orrefors Kosta Boda. Parties to the consortium had the ambition to create a strategic plan and a lasting ownership structure. However, it soon became clear that the partners had very different objectives regarding their ownership in Orrefors Kosta Boda.

While the owners were working toward an agreement on a new strategy, the company’s profitability suffered from lack of direction. Proventus offered to take full responsibility for the future development of the group, either as sole or majority owner of Orrefors Kosta Boda, or as owner of Kosta Boda after a demerger. Although numerous alternatives were explored during the negotiations, it proved impossible to reach an agreement that provided Proventus with a satisfactory level of influence over the development of the group. The deadlock was resolved in September 1997 when Proventus agreed to sell its shares in Orrefors Kosta Boda to Royal Copenhagen.