Ex-Louis Vuitton chief joins L Capital Asia

Philip Corne will lead L Capital Asia’s Australian operations team as the private equity firm looks to ramp up its investments Down Under.

Louis Vuitton Australia's former chief executive officer, Philip Corne, has joined L Capital Asia as executive chairman, and will lead its Australian operations team as the private equity firm looks to ramp up investments Down Under.

L Capital Asia is the Asian private equity unit of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the French luxury group which owns Louis Vuitton Australia. The Singapore-headquartered firm typically invests between $30 million and $150 million in lifestyle and consumer businesses in Asia valued at between $100 million to $1 billion.

Corne, who will be based at L Capital's office in Sydney, will be responsible for the firm's investments in Australia; he will lead the operations team in both due diligence and post-investment asset management, L Capital said.

Ravi Thakran, L Capital Asia's managing director, said that the firm is eyeing investment opportunities across several sectors in Australia: beauty and wellness, natural and super foods, and travel and wine.

The firm has three investments in Australia – swimwear brand Seafolly, clothing brand RM Williams, and sportswear manufacturer 2XU. Among its 25 investments, three have been exited, one has been partially realised, while the remaining 21 have yet to be exited, the firm said on its website.

L Capital Asia manages over $2 billion in co-investments and $1.6 billion across two funds: 2010-vintage L Capital Asia I, which closed on $637 million, and L Capital Asia II, which was launched in 2013 and reached a final close of$1 billion in August of the same year. The firm's second fund is almost fully deployed, as previously reported by Private Equity International.

Last month, the firm invested $50 million in South Korean cosmetics company CLIO. It is also reportedly planning an initial public offering for one of its portfolio companies, Chinese fashion house Trendy International Group.

In March this year, L Capital Asia was sued by a former managing director over allegations that the firm dismissed him after he revealed wrongdoings related to the firm's business investments.

Corne resigned from his post at Louis Vuitton after 13 years with the company. In this role, he led Louis Vuitton's retail expansion in Australia and New Zealand. Earlier in his career, he was an accountant with KPMG. Corne remains a non-executive director of Louis Vuitton Australia and is also on the boards of 2XU and Seafollym, and was appointed chairman of the board of RM Williams in December 2015.