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Barclays Private Equity backs £28 million MBO of Artigiano

18 Dec 2006

Adding to its strong track record in the retail sector, Barclays Private Equity has backed the £28m management buy-out of Scala Collections Ltd (trading as Artigiano), the direct retailer of Italian designed ladies’ clothes, shoes and accessories.  As part of the deal, Barclays Private Equity will take a 65 per cent stake, with management and the vendors taking the remaining 35 per cent.  

Scala was founded in 1995 by Claire and Glyn Locke.  It trades under two brand names – Artigiano and Spirito di Artigiano - and now boasts a database of c. 500,000 buyers and enquirers.  Scala’s strength is in its Italian heritage and focus on customer service.  Turnover forecast for the year to January 2007 is £19.5m, generating underlying operating profit of £3.3m.  

As part of the buy-out of Artigiano, Dagmar Krafft, currently General Manager, will step up to become Chief Executive.  She will be joined on the Board by Amanda Froshaug (Buying Director) and Chris Sheath (newly appointed Finance Director).  The Board will be completed by Michael Metcalf (newly appointed Chairman) and Claire Locke and Steven Silvester (Non-Executive Directors).   

Steven Silvester, Director of Barclays Private Equity, commented:  "Artigiano’s customers are discerning and sophisticated ladies.  The demographic trends for its core market are particularly strong.  We are delighted to have made this investment and look forward to assisting the Company to capitalise on the opportunities which this will present.”  

Dagmar Krafft, Chief Executive said:  "Artigiano has developed a loyal clientele through its unique combination of stunning Italian design and fantastic customer service.  We are delighted to have partnered with Barclays Private Equity, who have helped Kurt Geiger, Phase Eight and Hobbs with their growth plans over the last three or four years.”  

“With their input, we intend to build on our recent successes, extend the product range further and increase our customer numbers through effective marketing initiatives.   We believe that the future for Scala’s direct, niche retailing model is particularly bright.”  

Claire Locke commented: “I am delighted with this outcome.   Glyn and I are proud of what we have created and look forward to continuing to share in its success through our significant investment in the management buy-out and my continuing role as a Non-Executive Director.”  

Steven Silvester led the investment for Barclays Private Equity assisted by Joyce Wong, Jim Renahan and Catherine Wall.  Debt funding was arranged by Lloyds TSB Acquisition Finance, where the team was led by Peter Bate with Chris Birt and Shiv Sivarajah.  

“We have a very strong working relationship with the Barclays Private Equity team," says Peter Bate, "plus a solid track-record in the retail sector. We were, therefore, very pleased to support the deal."

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