Lloyds’ mid-market private equity division LDC has backed the buy-out of the outdoor clothing and equipment retailer Mountain Warehouse.
The deal, which values Mountain Warehouse at over £50 million, gives LDC a significant minority holding in the company, which was acquired from the Icelandic investment fund KCAJ.
Founded by Mark Neale in 1997, Mountain Warehouse is a retailer of outdoor clothing and equipment including tents and camping equipment. In the past two years the company has opened 50 new stores bringing the total to 110. Five of Mountain Warehouse’s stores used to be branches of Woolworths with a sixth former Woolworths site in Cirencester due to open soon.
Neale says the deal ‘provides us with additional capital to help fund our store opening programme and our new higher-end clothing range’.
The company plans to use the funding for expansion and aims to have over 200 stores and double its workforce to around 1,500 people by 2014. It will also launch a new clothing range this autumn, Mountainlife Extreme, aimed at the upper end of the outdoor clothing market.
Mountain Warehouse already has stores in Austria and Ireland and is considering expansion into other parts of Europe and North America. In the year to February 2010 the company declared pre-tax profits of £3.7 million on turnover of £47.5 million.
The sale of Mountain Warehouse represents a return of three times its original investment since 1997 for KCAJ. The deal is LDC’s ninth this year.