The consortium, which also includes Middle East-based investors Eastgate Capital Group and The National Investor (TNI), bought a 70 per cent stake in L’azurde for an undisclosed sum. The acquired company, which designs, makes and distributes gold jewellery, has sales of US$500 million and grew earnings by 14 per cent last year.
Investcorp made the investment through its $1.1 billion (£765 million) Gulf Opportunity Fund I, which was launched in 2007. The acquisition comes two months after the fund closed its first deal, the purchase in November last year of IT company Redington Gulf.
Nemir Kirdar, executive chairman and CEO of Investcorp, says, ‘Despite challenging economic and market conditions, good business opportunities are available in MENA [the Middle East and Africa] and deals can be done.’
Azmat Taufique, co-head of Investcorp’s Gulf growth capital business, says the jewellery market in the Middle East is ‘underpinned by a growing middle class, strong demographics, cultural affinity with gold and increasing fashion consciousness’. Some 50 per cent of gold consumption in the MENA region is wedding-related, according to data cited by the firm.