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Bridgepoint in the News

27 July 2011

Bridgepoint acquires Italian perfumery chain La Gardenia

La Gardenia, the No 2 player in the Italian perfumery market, has been acquired by Bridgepoint from its current owners L Capital and Ergon Capital for an undisclosed sum.

With 161 stores and 822 employees throughout Italy targeting the 'selective perfumery market' with its higher growth, higher margin perfume and cosmetics (P&C) segment, La Gardenia operates principally in high footfall city centre locations, and largely in areas with limited local competition. It is also increasingly present in shopping malls. In 2010 it reported revenues of €133 million and EBITDA of € 18 million.

The Italian P &C market has grown to be the third largest in Europe estimated to be worth over €9 billion per annum and where average per capita spend is €157. From 2006 to 2011, La Gardenia doubled its share of the market, driven by sustained like-for-like growth as well as a successful track record of new site openings and store refurbishments.

La Gardenia CEO Silvano Storer said: "The team at La Gardenia firmly believes that the business has much yet to achieve and that this new period of partnership with an experienced investor such as Bridgepoint will allow us to consolidate our position whilst also expanding in to adjacent segments."

Commenting on the acquisition, Bridgepoint partner Lucio Ranaudo, said: "La Gardenia is a sizeable nationwide operator in Italy in a large and highly fragmented market that is ripe for consolidation."

"The business, with its reputation for excellent customer service, is well positioned to take market share from independents, is already among the leaders in the strategically important shopping mall segment and can now look to our input to exploit is potential further." he said.

Bridgepoint has extensive experience in this segment of the European retail market, both from a current investment in Limoni (made by another Bridgepoint fund) and a former investment, realised in 2005, in Nocibé of France. As a result, La Gardenia was identified as an interesting target over two years ago and was acquired in a proprietary, off market transaction. As a result of this sectoral expertise and experience, supported by further market due diligence, Bridgepoint also believes that there is further potential at La Gardenia for best practice operational improvement such as the introduction of private label .

Bank finance for the transaction was provided by Banca Imi, IKB , and MPS Capital Services (acting as mandated lead arrangers, underwriters and bookrunners) and advisers involved in the transaction included: for Bridgepoint - Lazard, Société Générale and Banca Imi ( corporate finance and debt advisory), KPMG (financial due diligence), Bain (market), Willis (insurance), Pavia & Ansaldo (legal), Maisto & Associati and Electa Group ( tax); for vendors GOPG (legal) and CBVLex (tax).

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