LDC sells Ethel Austin to ABN AMRO

LDC, formerly Lloyds TSB Development Capital, has sold its 67.5% stake in UK discount clothing retailer Ethel Austin to ABN AMRO Capital.

In a £122.5m deal, ABN AMRO Capital has acquired 56% of the Liverpool-based company, the investment coming equally from LBO Fund II and the Private Equity Fund.

LDC will reinvest £5m into Ethel Austin, giving the group a 7% stake. The management team is to reinvest the majority of its proceeds from the sale and will hold a 37% stake. Members of the Austin family, which have owned the company since its creation in 1934, have sold their 7.5% interest.

In June 2002 LDC backed a £55m MBO led by chief executive Phil Hoskinson in June 2002 from the Austin family, the money coming from LDC’s balance sheet. The latest deal represents a 2x return on the original investment.