ABN Amro acquires retail chain for £122.5m

Lloyds Development Capital has sold its 56 percent shareholding in British clothing retail chain Ethel Austin to ABN Amro Capital.

ABN Amro Capital, the private equity business of ABN AMRO, has completed a secondary buyout of Ethel Austin Retail Group, the UK discount clothing retail chain.

The Dutch-headquartered firm acquired 56 percent of Ethel Austin from Lloyds TSB Development Capital (LDC) for £122.5 million (€186.4 million; $225.8 million).

The deal represents a 2x return on LDC’s original investment of £58 million in an MBO from the Austin family in May 2002. LDC will reinvest £5 million in the business and the management team holds the remaining 37 percent of the share capital.

Ethel Austin has 271 stores across the UK and recorded a profit of £12.9 million on a turnover of £153 million in the year to August 2003.

Commenting on the transaction, Ian Taylor, UK head of ABN Amro Capital, said in a statement: 'The retail sector is increasingly dividing into winners and losers and we believe that Ethel Austin is well placed to take advantage of the continued development of value retailing.'

ABN Amro Capital has offices in 12 countries globally. The firm specialises in mid-market buyouts, expansion capital, public-to-private transactions and has a total global portfolio of €1.9 billion. The transaction is ABN Amro Capital’s 16th buyout since the start of 2003.

In January, the firm led a secondary buyout of UK-based manufacturer Dennis Eagle from fellow mid-market buyout firm Bridgepoint Capital.