Photo: Lennart Nygren/TT
A wooden toy train made by the classic Swedish toy manufacturer. Photo: Lennart Nygren/TT

Toymaker Brio bought by German firm

The Swedish classic toy company, Brio, known for its wooden train sets and pull toys, will soon become German, according to newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

The investment company Proventus is selling it to German puzzle manufacturer, Ravensburger, for an undisclosed sum.

"Ravensburger has a long history of quality," Proventus CEO Daniel Sachs told the newspaper.

Both Brio and Ravensburger have long histories, founded in 1884 and 1883, respectively. The Swedish company's name stands for Bröderna Ivarsson i Osby (the Ivarsson Brothers in Osby, a locality in southern Sweden).

While Brio's yearly turnover is about SEK 370 million, the German company's is about ten times that.

Sachs said his Swedish company has invested about SEK 500 million in Brio, and that it was not a good business for his company.

"At the same time, we are really proud that we succeeding in saving Brio," he said, "and that we can leave a profitable company so it can develop further."

Brio's management and the 80 employees, who are mostly based in Malmö, will remain in Sweden.

In 2004, Proventus bought the Swedish toy company, which had not been doing well financially, with plans to make it profitable, but at the same time, the market was changing as kids started to turn more and more towards electronic forms of entertainment, and as toy manufacturing was moving to Asia, which lowered prices.

However, lately the pendulum has started to swing back, writes DN, and several toy companies are choosing to manufacture their products in Europe and the U.S., and classic toys are becoming popular again.

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