3i and L Capital backed Gant in 241 million IPO

28 Mar 2006

3i, Europe's leading private equity and venture capital company and L Capital, an international fund specialised in consumer brands, congratulate the board of Gant Company AB, a Swedish company that develops and markets an international lifestyle brand, who today announced the €241 million flotation on the Stockholm Stock Exchange. The IPO provides 3i and L Capital with partial exits at this stage generating €44 million and €76 million of proceeds respectively.

3i and L Capital led the €105m buy-out of Gant in July 2003. 3i invested €13 million for a 20.6 % stake while L Capital, which was already an investor, increased its stake to 35.4 % at the time of the buyout.

Gant has a long history of sustained profitable growth and following the buy-out in 2003, Gant has experienced steep growth. Brand sales have increased from €384 million in 2002 to €592 million in 2005 and profits have increased by more than 85 %. Gant has successfully launched a women's wear line, significantly strengthened its licensing business and entered 13 new markets. In addition more than 80 new Gant stores have been opened.  Gant is currently present in 68 countries and its products are sold in more than 235 Gant stores as well as in over 4,000 other retail locations.

Mattias Eklund, Partner, 3i Nordic comments: "We are delighted to have had the opportunity to work with Gant's excellent management team over the last three years. During this period Gant has taken significant steps towards its goal of becoming a leading global lifestyle brand. We are thrilled with Gant's flotation and wish the company further success as a listed company."

Jean Cailliau, Partner, L Capital, adds: "From the start of our investment in 2002, Gant has delivered steady and stable growth along with great products."

Arthur Engel, CEO of Gant, says: "We have valued our partnership with 3i and L Capital highly. We are excited about the opportunities to further strengthening our brand and growing our business in existing as well as new markets."

The Gant brand was founded in the US in 1949, while the present operation was founded in 1980 by three Swedish entrepreneurs, Lennart Björk, Klas Käll and Staffan Wittmark, when they obtained the rights to design and sell Gant clothing in Sweden. In early 1999, the company acquired the global rights to the Gant trademark, securing control over Gant's global product range. In 2005, Gant brand sales (the total estimated retail sales value before VAT of Gant branded products) amounted to €592 million while Gant generated turnover and operating profits of €116 million and € 21 million respectively. 

Notes to editors

About 3i
3i is a world leader in private equity and venture capital. We focus on Buyouts, Growth Capital and Venture Capital and invest across Europe, in the United States and in Asia Pacific. Our competitive advantage comes from our international network and the strength and breadth of our relationships in business. These underpin the value that we deliver to our portfolio and to our shareholders.

3i has significant experience from the branded apparel and clothing retail sectors and has earlier invested e.g. in Hobbs, a UK-based women's fashion retailer; Ben Sherman, a UK men's fashion brand; Pepe Jeans, a Spanish jeans retailer and Halti, a Finnish sports apparel manufacturer. www.3i.com

About L Capital 
L Capital is a Private Equity fund managing € 600 million, of which € 326 million have been raised in november 2005. L Capital counts in its investors several Funds of Funds and European institutions, its sponsors are: LVMH and Groupe Arnault for 25%. 
The strategy of L Capital is to invest and develop companies with strong image content and development potential in the consumer-goods segment. L Capital is an international fund acting in Europe and USA through its teams based in Paris and Milan. 
In the last 4 years L Capital has made 13 investments : Energy Brands (Smart waters, USA), Gant (Sportswear, Sweden), Forte Pharma (Nutritional supplements, Monaco), Imaginarium (Toys distribution, Spain), Lampes Berger (Home fragrances, France),  Antichi Pelletieri (Leather goods and shoes, Italy), Franco and Stroili (Jewellery distribution, Italy), Klinger Advanced Aesthetics (Beauty centers, USA), Conserve della Nonna (Food products, Italy), Micromania (Video-games distribution, France), Nutrition & Santé (Dietary and food supplements, France) and EMU (Outdoor furniture, Italiy).

About Gant Company AB
Gant is an international lifestyle brand with roots in the relaxed clothing and lifestyle of the American East Coast. Gant's unique combination of American casualness with European elegance and quality are based on the brand name's origins from the East Coast where it was founded in 1949. Today, Gant products are sold in more than 68 countries through more than 235 independent Gant stores as well as a large number of selected dealers.

Gant offers the full range of clothing for men, women, boys, girls and babies. Home, Time, Fragrance, Footwear and Eyewear licenses are also incorporated under the Gant brand name.
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