Actis Sells Regal Forest Stake

Actis has sold its 30% stake in Regal Forest Holding Co. to a subsidiary of Mexican department store operator El Puerto de Liverpool. No financial terms were disclosed. Regal Forest is a durable consumer goods retailer in Central America and the English-speaking Caribbean.


Actis, an emerging markets private equity specialist, announced today that it has sold its 30% stake in Regal Forest Holding Co. Ltd (RFH), the leading retailer of Durable Consumer Goods (DCG) in Central America and the English-speaking Caribbean, to Operadora Liverpool S.A de C.V, a subsidiary of the leading Mexican Department Store operator El Puerto de Liverpool (LIVEPOL).

The transaction forms a strategic relationship between RFH and Liverpool, leaving the business well placed to take advantage of the growth opportunity in the Central American and Caribbean regions over the next decade.

Actis’s long-term commitment in RFH began with an investment in December 2000 alongside Grupo Siman, the strong management team running the business. This partnership was instrumental in growing RFH; expanding the store network to over 400 locations in 18 countries to become the leading player in DCG over a broad geographic region. In April 2008, RFH opened its first “simplified bank” (Financiera) in El Salvador, offering simple deposit and loan products to existing high-quality customers and to the general public with strict credit criteria.

Actis also played an active role in RFH’s acquisition in December 2006 of the Caribbean operations of Courts Plc, a UK company at that time in administration. Today, Courts Caribbean is the undisputed market leader in DCG retail

in the English Caribbean (including Belize and Guyana), with sales in excess of US$325m and 40%+ market shares in all the countries in which it operates.

Commenting on the sale, Paul Fletcher, Senior Partner at Actis said, “RFH’s outstanding growth over the last ten years, culminating in this opportunity with Liverpool, is a fine example of Actis adding value to its investee companies. This has been a long and fruitful partnership and we wish RFH well as they embark upon the next stage of their development.”

Mario Siman, CEO of Regal Forest, said: “We have always been proud of our association with Actis and CDC and will be forever grateful for the confidence they placed in our management team and for their unwavering commitment to the growth and expansion of our company. We combined our expertise in retail operations with their financial acumen and discipline to create what is now the undisputable leader in the furniture, appliance and electronics market in Central America and the Caribbean. We look forward to investing together with them in new ventures to continue contributing to the development of our region.”

Jorge Salgado, Liverpool’s CFO, said; “The Company looks at this transaction with optimism, as it represents joining forces with a leading retailer in Central America and the Caribbean with significant expansion opportunities and, also, its first cross borders endeavour.”

About Actis

Actis is a leading private equity investor in emerging markets with a growing portfolio of investments in Asia, Africa and Latin America; it currently has US$4.8bn funds under management. With over 100 investment professionals on the ground in 9 offices worldwide, Actis identifies investment opportunities in the emerging markets by bringing local experts together with specialist sector teams. Actis announced the close of its global emerging markets fund, Actis Emerging Markets 3 on 1 December 2008 with commitments totalling US$2.9bn. Actis announced the close of its global infrastructure fund, Actis Infrastructure 2, on 30 September 2009 with commitments totalling US$750m.

About Regal Forest

Regal Forest Holding Co. Ltd (RFH), operating as Unicomer Group, is the leading furniture, appliance and electronics retailer in Central America and the Caribbean, under its leading retail brands: La Curacao in Central America and the Dominican Republic; Almacenes Tropigas in Central America, the Radio Shack franchise in Central America, Unicomer in the United States, and Courts and Lucky Dollar in the Caribbean. RFH has a leading market presence in 18 countries and currently has more than two million square feet of sales area distributed in more than 400 stores across the region, and over one million active customers. RFH is also one of the largest employers in the region, with almost 8,500 employees.

About Liverpool

El Puerto de Liverpool S.A.B. de C.V.”, founded in 1847, is the owner of the largest chain of department stores in Mexico; it operates 79 stores under the “LIVERPOOL”, “FABRICAS DE FRANCIA” and “LIVERPOOL DUTY FREE” formats. It currently manages over 2.4 million credit cards and has a team of more than 33,000 employees. “El Puerto de Liverpool S.A.B. de C.V.” is also one of the largest commercial real estate operators in Mexico, operating 16 shopping centers. It is currently listed on the Mexican Stock Exchange (LIVEPOL).