Apax Partners France has acquired a 14.1 per cent stake in the capital of European optical retailer Alain Afflelou, alongside controlling shareholder Lion Capital, company founder Alain Afflelou and the management team.
The investment was mostly made by the Apax France VII fund, as its last investment, and by Altamir Amboise, a listed company.
A twelve-year partnership (2000-2012) Apax Partners joined forces with Afflelou in 2000 to help him regain control of the company he founded, and has supported the company’s development over the past twelve years.
This partnership has enabled the franchised optician to expand its network in France and in 2003 to purchase Carrefour Optique’s French and Spanish network.
The company also launched the roll-out of a second brand Claro Afflelou. In 2011, the company entered the hearing-aid market with the Alain Afflelou Acousticien brand, thus adding a new growth driver to the overall business.
In twelve years, sales for the whole network have doubled to around €800m in 2010-11, and operating profit has more than tripled.
The company is present in nine countries and has around 1,200 stores – more than 750 in France and 260 in Spain, roughly 30 in Belgium and around 50 in six other countries (Portugal, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Morocco, Lebanon and the Ivory Coast).
In late September, Apax Partners was reported to be seeking bids of up to $360m for celebrity-endorsed direct sales company LR Health & Beauty.
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