NBGI takes on Mountain Warehouse

NBGI Private Equity has acquired 21 Invest’s stake in Mountain Warehouse. Mark Neale, who founded the outdoor clothing and equipment retailer in 1997 and is managing director, is rolling most of his proceeds from the original investment into the new acquisition vehicle. 21 Invest, an Italian fund that belongs to the Bonomi family’s Invest Group, invested start-up capital in Mountain Warehouse in 1997 followed by a second tranche in 1998.

NBGI Private Equity, a EURO100 million fund backed by the National Bank of Greece, has bought a majority stake in the business. It is the fund’s first investment in a retail business. Barclays, which has a long-standing relationship with Mountain Warehouse, supported the deal with debt finance. NBGI Private Equity has brought in Nick Jeffrey as non-executive chairman.

Mountain Warehouse is a chain of 20 UK stores, mainly located in factory outlet villages. It sells outdoor clothing brands such as Karrimor, Berghaus, Sprayway, Craghopper, Wynnster and Regatta at reduced prices, as well as its own brand, Planetproof. Turnover is currently more than GBP7 million. Neale said: “The outdoor industry had a hard time last year but we fared better than most. The outdoor market is growing and there are lots of opportunities for us.”

NBGI Private Equity was advised by Eversheds (legal), Tenon Livingstone Guarantee (financial due diligence), Burlington (commercial due diligence) and Alaco (management due diligence). Marriott Harrison advised the company’s management, Osborne Clarke advised Barclays Bank and Hammonds Suddards Edge advised 21 Invest.