Swatch invests in DIC portfolio company

The Swiss watch-maker has invested in Rivoli Group, a Dubai International Capital portfolio company that sells luxury goods in the MENA region. The retailer sells products including Gucci watches, Roberto Cavalli eyewear and Vertu mobile phones.

Swatch Group, the world’s largest watch manufacturer, has acquired “an important stake” in the Rivoli Group, a luxury goods retailer that operates in the GCC countries. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Dubai International Capital (DIC), the Middle East investment firm, is the largest stakeholder in Rivoli. DIC invested in the company in September 2007, its first direct investment in the MENA region.

Dubai-based Rivoli operates more than 245 retail outlets in the region which sell luxury brands such as Omega, Vertu, Dunhill, Montblanc and others. The group has an extensive retail network in Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and the UAE and is seeking to expand regionally.

The investment by Swatch will assist the group in expanding its operations and to enter markets such as India and Saudi Arabia. At the same time, it will provide Swatch with greater exposure in the high growth markets of the Middle East.

Nayla Hayek, a member on the board of directors of Swatch said in a statement: “The GCC region is one which possesses high growth potential and with this partnership we plan not only to tap into the opportunities
that the region offers but also to increase the service to the consumer.”

Swatch produces more than 19 brands of watches, ranging from a basic range to a luxury segment. It has more than 160 factories in Switzerland.

Separately, UK budget hotel chain Travelodge, which is owned by DIC, has said that it will be investing £150 million ($300 million; €190 million) over the next six years to develop 55 new hotels in coastal towns in the UK by 2015. DIC acquired Travelodge from European buyout firm Permira in 2006 for £675 million.

DIC manages assets of more than $12 billion (€7.6 billion).