Swicorp in Italian ceramic designer add-on

The MENA-focused firm's portfolio company Uniceramic has acquired a stake in Powergres, helping extend Uniceramic's distribution beyond the Middle East.

Swicorp, a Middle East investment firm, has acquired a strategic stake in Italy-based Powergres, a ceramic tiles designer and distributor, through its portfolio company Uniceramic Holding.

The transaction included a capital increase as well as a share swap. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Hassen Marzouk, who led the deal, will represent Intaj on the Powergres board of directors.

Established in 2005, Powergres is headquartered in Sassuolo. The company offers a wide range of ceramic tiles, leather-coated tiles, hydro-sanitary ware and other accessories. 

“This integration of Powergres within Uniceramic will enable the company to consolidate its position, providing it with access to the financial resources and competitive-cost manufacturing platforms of Uniceramic in the MENA region,” Donato Mancini, chief executive officer of Powergres, said in a statement.

Nabil Triki, head of private equity at Swicorp said the addition of Powergres to its portfolio will extend Uniceramic’s distribution capabilities beyond the MENA region.

In 2007, Swicorp invested $80 million in debt and equity to enter into a joint venture with Lebanon-based ceramic tiles manufacturer, Uniceramic SAL, and formed Uniceramic Holding, in which Swicorp has a controlling stake. The company was established with the aim of building a MENA-based international player in the ceramic tiles and sanitary wares industry.

The investment was made from Intaj Capital, a $250 million private equity fund focused on the Middle East and North Africa. The fund is focused on investments in sectors driven by growth in consumer demand. These include consumer goods, retail, food and beverages, communications and media, consumer finance and construction materials.

Intaj Capital makes growth capital investments and invests selectively in buyouts. In October 2008, the fund invested for a stake in Petroser, an Algerian distributor of fuel and related products. A month prior to that, it acquired a strategic minority stake in Jordan Aviation, a private aviation leasing company.

Founded in 1987, Swicorp manages assets of more than $1.5 billion.