L Capital and 3i are celebrating the flotation of portfolio company Gant, a Swedish business that develops and markets an international lifestyle brand. The company has successfully achieved a €241m flotation on the Stockholm Stock Exchange. The IPO provides 3i and L Capital with partial exits at this stage generating €44m and €76m of proceeds, respectively.
3i and L Capital led the €105m buyout of Gant in July 2003. 3i invested €13m for a 20.6% stake and L Capital, which was already an investor, increased its stake to 35.4%.
Following the buyout, Gant has experienced steep growth. Brand sales have increased from €384m in 2002 to €592m 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 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.
The Gant brand was founded in the US in 1949, while three Swedish entrepreneurs, Lennart Björk, Klas Käll and Staffan Wittmark, founded the present operation in 1980 when they obtained 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 €592m while Gant generated turnover and operating profits of €116m and €21m, respectively.