Taiwan's CDIB in Dubai deal

CDIB Capital has invested in Dubai-based Flemingo International, aiming to help bring the duty-free retailer into China.

CDIB Capital International, the private equity arm of Taiwan-based China Development Industrial Bank, has closed an investment in a Dubai-based duty-free retail operator focused on emerging markets, according to a firm statement.

The exact amount of the investment was undisclosed, but the firm’s average investment size is between $20 million and $50 million, and this investment falls within that range, according to Lionel de Saint-Exupery, president and chief executive of CDIB Capital.

This investment has given CDIB Capital an undisclosed minority stake in the company, along with one board seat as an observer, de Saint-Exupery added.

The capital for this investment was proprietary capital from China Development Financial, the merchant banking group of which CDIB Capital is an affiliate. There was no debt funding used for this transaction, de Saint-Exupery said.

Travel retail is a very local market, and you typically want to have local partners

Lionel de Saint-Exupery, president, CDIB Capital

CDIB Capital’s strategy is primarily focused on China’s consumer story and other sectors related to China’s growth. At this point, Flemingo has no presence in China, and its primary focus has been on India.

While the company already has a presence in 26 countries across western Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa, its “next growth drivers will be a presence in China and East Asia”, de Saint-Exupery said, adding that CDIB Capital intends to help it with the expansion.

“Travel retail is a very local market, and you typically want to have local partners – so [CDIB Capital] hopes to help them find those partners,” de Saint-Exupery. The firm has already started meeting some potential partners in certain cities, he added.

CDIB Capital expected to launch a $500 million fund last quarter, and with it raise capital from sources other than CDF. However, the firm has decided to delay the launch due to the poor fundraising environment. De Saint-Exupery said they hope to launch it before the end of the year.