Dutch lingerie firm Hunkemoller attracts private equity interest, say sources: Reuters

(Reuters) Dutch lingerie maker Hunkemoller has caught the eye of several private equity groups in a potential deal worth roughly 500 million euros ($553 million), three sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Carlyle, CVC and Apax are expected to hand in final bids later this month for the group, which employs Dutch model and TV personality Sylvie Meis in its marketing and has over 600 stores in 16 countries from Spain to Saudi Arabia.

Hunkemoller has earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of about 50 million euros and any buyout could be backed with around 300-350 mln of debt financing, the people said.

Listed retail fashion companies such as H&M, Inditex, Next, Marks and Spencer and Esprit trade at an average of 11 times their expected core earnings. Hunkemoller’s private equity owner PAI hopes to sell at a similar multiple, one of the people said.

PAI put the retailer, which began as a corset shop in Amsterdam in 1886 and is now the largest high-street lingerie brand in the Benelux region, up for sale earlier this year and tasked JP Morgan with organising an auction.

Although the brand with products like the “Diva” and “Candy” bras is based in the Netherlands it makes about half of its sales in Germany where it is the largest lingerie chain with 185 stores as of February 2014.

PAI bought Hunkemoller in 2011 for 265 million euros. In a 2014 company report, Chief Executive Philip Mountford said the chain was a 400 million-euro business.
The brand has been expanding aggressively, with its chief focus on Germany, Austria and Sweden, and is planning forays into Asia. Sales have grown around 10 percent each year since PAI’s investment in 2011.

Carlyle, Apax and PAI declined to comment, while CVC was not immediately available for comment.