Ulvang sells out to Swix

Former cross-country champion Vegard Ulvang has sold his small sports clothing empire to Swix Sports of Lillehammer. Swix is best known for making ski wax exported all over the world.

Former cross-country champion Vegard Ulvang has sold his small sports clothing empire to Swix Sports of Lillehammer. Swix is best known for making ski wax exported all over the world.

Ulvang says the deal should help take everything from his wool socks to long underwear out into the world as well.

"It's a bit sad, but I'm satisfied with the agreement," Ulvang told newspaper Aftenposten Tuesday. "I will lose some of the control over my brand, but view Swix as a serious player. I feel a sense of security about cooperating with Swix."

Ulvang, who won multiple gold medals during his skiing career and is a former Olympic star, has built up a small fortune through his company Elite Sport, which he launched when he retired from professional competition.

Neither he nor Swix officials would disclose terms of the sale, but analysts estimate Elite was worth between NOK 50 million-70 million. It had revenues of NOK 250 million in 2001 and is expected to gross NOK 340 million in 2004.

Ulvang owned 50 percent of the company, with Jon Inge Gullikstad held 45 percent and Joern Naess held the remaining 5 percent.

Swix, owned by tobacco heir Johan H Andresen Jr, wants to be "a year-'round company, that's not dependent on snow," said chief executive Mikkel Dobloug. "Now we can offer a wider product line to our customers."

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