Artigiano receives private equity funding for MBO


Barclays Private Equity has backed the £28 million
management buy-out of Scala Collections Ltd (trading as
Artigiano). 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 in the business. As part of the
buy-out, Dagmar Krafft, currently general manager, will assume
the role of 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 Metcalfe, the newly appointed chairman with Claire Locke
and Steven Silvester as non-executive directors.

Scala was founded in 1995 by Claire and Glyn Locke. It trades
under two brand names, Artigiano and Spirito di Artigiano, and
has a database of some 500,000 buyers and enquirers. Turnover
forecast for the year to January 2007 is £19.5m, generating
underlying operating profit of £3.3 million. 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.”

She added, “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.”

Artigiano’s founder, Claire Locke, was delighted at the 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.
Barclays Private Equity was introduced to Scala Collections by
Smith & Williamson Corporate Finance Limited who advised the
vendors.

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