09.09.2010 Business & Finance

Actis acquires Vlisco Group

09.09.2010 LISTEN
By Azim Datardina

Emerging market private equity firm pays US$151m for 100% control of Vlisco Group

Accra, 8 September 2010: Actis, a leading private equity investor focused solely on emerging markets, has acquired Vlisco Group, producers of a portfolio of popular West and Central African fashion brands including Ghanaian produced GTP and Woodin

Vlisco Group, a 164-year-old business, leads African design trends in printed and wax fashion fabrics. Worn by everybody from politicians and celebrities to men and women on the street, the brands are synonymous with style and contemporary quality in West and Central Africa. The Vlisco Group has strong retail presence in a number of countries including Ghana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Togo and Benin.

Vlisco Group contributes to multiple West African economies with brands ranging from premium (Vlisco), through mid-tier (Uniwax), to contemporary (GTP and Woodin). The company directly employs over 2,100 people of which 1,500 people are located in West Africa, with over 490 employed in Tema. The Vlisco Group's downstream supply chain indirectly employs many more, supporting entrepreneurialism among distributors, shopkeepers and tailors.

The four brands form an essential part of the vibrant West African culture and fashion scene. The fabrics vary from more traditional to contemporary, to highly innovative in design and colour. These uniquely recognisable designs appeal to a broad cross section of West and Central African society and the wider diaspora, with increasing influence on Western fashion design trends.

As part of the deal Actis has appointed Hans Ouwendijk, who has a distinguished track record with international apparel brands including Laura Ashley and Mexx, as CEO of the Vlisco Group.

Speaking in Ghana, Actis's Head of West Africa, Ngozi Edozien said: “Brands like GTP that are steeped in Ghanaian cultural heritage offer up a fantastic opportunity which is why we are focused on growth whilst fiercely protecting the quality that has earned these brands their reputation.”

Erik Van der Staaij, Vlisco Group representative in Ghana said, “We are convinced that given the experience, commitment and interest of Actis in Africa, this new venture will propel our GTP, Woodin and Vlisco brands to even greater heights of prosperity. As a notable investor in modern retail facilities for Africa like the Accra Mall, Actis's buying into our well established African textile and fashion business will help to fast track our Ghanaian retail network ambitions.”

Actis has strong and relevant experience from its other consumer brand investments in Africa, such as Mouka Foam (a consumer durables company) and UAC (a consumer focused conglomerate whose business include packaged foods and quick service restaurants). In line with Actis's mission to always add significant value beyond capital, Actis will work with the Vlisco Group management team in distribution, marketing, and other operations, while also bringing expertise in environmental, social and governance standards. Actis is committed to working with industry, government, and other groups to support the important African wax fabric and fashion industry in West Africa.