Wafra Partners Buys Two New Companies –

New York-based Wafra Partners recently added two new companies to its portfolio. The firm in late June acquired Wundies Industries, a designer and manufacturer of under garments for women and girls, for an undisclosed price, said Wafra Managing Director John Camp. Wafra also recently acquired Travelpro, a luggage designer.

Although terms of the deal were not disclosed, Mr. Camp pegged the total transaction price for Wundies at less than $100 million and said his firm contributed equity amounting to 35% of the price. The rest of the financing came in the form of senior and subordinated debt, although Mr. Camp declined to disclose the lenders.

The company-which was a former portfolio company of Charterhouse Group International, according to Mr. Camp-had been traded over the counter on the bulletin board. According to a statement from Wundies, the acquisition allowed for all shares of common stock of the company to be converted into the right to receive $8.00 per share in cash, subject to certain escrow and indemnification rights. In addition, all of the outstanding preferred stock of the company was converted into the right to receive $2.40 per share plus accured and unpaid dividends.

In addition to Wafra’s equity investment, members of the company’s existing management team also contributed equity to the acquisition.

New York-based Wundies, which has a manufacturing facility based in Williamsport, Pa., designs and manufactures underwear, sleepwear and daywear for women and girls. The company, which has estimated 1999 revenue of $110 million, sells a majority of its products to the children’s market, under brand name licenses such as Barbie, Winnie the Pooh and Loony Toons, among others.

According to Mr. Camp, Wafra was attracted to the investment because of the large size and strong growth of the company’s market segment-Mr. Camp estimates the girl’s underwear market at $3 billion in the U.S., and growing at a rate of 10% per year-and the strength of the company’s licensing agreements. “If you get good licenses, they run for a significant amount of time,” he notes.

The firm will look to grow Wundies through acquisitions; Wafra already has identified two potential add-ons, although Mr. Camp declined to disclose additional information.

Packing Bags for Luggage Industry

Also in June, Wafra acquired Boca Raton-based Travelpro for an undisclosed amount. The company, which after the buyout became known as Travelpro USA, designs airplane luggage, which then is outsourced to production facilities located in Asia.

Although Travelpro USA is a stand-alone investment, Mr. Camp noted that the firm has experience in the luggage niche through Holiday Luggage, a Montreal-based designer and distributor of travel bags that the firm acquired in December.

According to Mr. Camp, Wafra became interested in Travelpro USA because it expanded the firm’s luggage businesses into the U.S.-Holiday operates only in Canada-and because the company possesses a strong brand name. The addition of Travelpro USA brings the combined revenue of Wafra’s luggage companies to $80 million from $40 million, Mr. Camp noted.