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Alchemy to exit Goldsmiths

Bank of Scotland has provided a debt facility of around GBP75 million to UK jewellers Goldsmiths, which will enable strategic investor Alchemy Partners to exit its 1999 investment in the company.

Goldsmiths Group is the UK’s second largest jewellery retailer trading from 160 stores across the UK. The group specialises in the premium sector of the jewellery trade with a particular strength in branded watches. It is the largest holder of franchises for Rolex, Cartier and Omega.

Goldsmiths was a former management buyout led by Jurek Piasecki and backed by Alchemy managing partner Jon Moulton at Schroder Ventures in 1988. In March 1999 the Alchemy Plan invested a total of GBP25.4 million with GBP5.6 million from management. A senior debt facility of GBP33 million with additional working capital up to GBP13 million was also provided.

The Alchemy investment is principally in the form of a high preferred return loan and the firm owned 43.5 per cent of the equity of the company. The total financing, including fees and expenses, was GBP77.1 million. The enterprise value including costs was GBP63 million. Alchemy Plan and management loan stock to the value of GBP9.5 million was redeemed in May 2000.

Goldsmiths had sales of GBP140 million in the year to January 31, 2002 and an operating profit of GBP11.4 million.