HgCapital buys Bench and Hooch

HgCapital has backed the £190m secondary buyout of Americana International, the company behind clothing brands Bench and Hooch.

The deal provides an exit for incumbent investor ISIS Equity Partners, which invested in a £20m buyout of Americana in August 2003. The sale yields a multiple of 8x and an IRR of 149% for ISIS, including the proceeds of two refinancings that took place in 2004 and 2005.

Bench’s sales in the UK have increased by more than 20% per annum during the past five years, while sales through its German subsidiary have quadrupled in the past two years. HgCapital says it plans to grow both brands internationally.

The buyout team was led by chairman David Brock, who also chairs private equity-backed fashion retailers Phase Eight and Jane Norman. HgCapital is in talks with several potential candidates for the position of group chief executive.

This buyout follows HgCapital’s acquisition of Schleich, a global manufacturer of toy figurines, in December 2006. The firm’s other investments in branded consumer businesses include The Sanctuary Spa, which makes spa and spa beauty products, and Sporting Index, a spread-betting specialist.

Richard Mathews, director at HgCapital, said: “We are delighted to be investing in these brands. Americana’s management has delivered tremendous growth over the last five years and Bench is now a brand that has real authority with its customer base. It is a great platform to grow from.”

Americana’s Brock added: “We had a great deal of interest on this occasion but chose HgCapital because of its experience and focus on international markets that offer us such great potential. We are looking forward to working closely with the team as Americana enters its next exciting phase of growth.”