L Catterton buys majority stake in French label APC
Independent French designer Jean Touitou had been looking for an investor for several months, and has finally found a financial partner for his Atelier de Production et de Création (APC) label. In recent weeks, L Catterton had often been indicated as being first in line to acquire the French ready-to-wear label launched in 1987.
In a press release issued on March 2, the investment fund co-founded by the LVMH group and the Arnault family has announced its decision to invest in APC in order to “accelerate [the label’s] international expansion.” It was also stated that, while L Catterton has acquired a majority stake, for an undisclosed amount, Jean and Judith Touitou (the latter joined the company in 1997) still retain a significant stake.
“We are very proud of the quality job we have done, and of having been able to create a timeless brand with a sympathetic feel that resonates with customers the world over,” they said. “After thirty-six years of running the company ourselves, we are delighted to partner with L Catterton, whose management shares our vision for APC and can contribute genuine expertise in international brand development. With L Catterton’s support and its in-depth knowledge of the brand world, we are embarking with enthusiasm and determination on a new, ambitious growth phase,” they added.
The French label was undoubtedly in the best possible position to undertake this new chapter. In 2017, the Audacia investment fund, which had held a share of less than 10% in APC since 2012, withdrew. And in 2018, the APC group decided to disengage from the Vanessa Seward label, which at the time generated less than €4 million in revenue but was burdened with operating losses, to focus on its eponymous label.
APC has not disclosed its revenue figures. According to publicly available results filed in France, the company’s best financial year was 2021, when it recorded a revenue of €82 million.
Currently, across all its lines of business, APC indicated it generates 80% of its sales outside France, and operates some 100 stores worldwide. It also sells through the e-tail channel, whose revenue has improved considerably and now accounts for approximately 30% of the total. L Catterton, which is currently backing labels such as Ganni, Birkenstock and Etro, is expected to take APC to a new level through its 17 offices worldwide.
“Strongly committed to improving its environmental footprint and equipped with a solid global strategy, APC is a distinctive and highly visible brand. It also benefits, through its history and the values transmitted by the whole staff, from an identity that is unique in the fashion sector. Its authenticity plays a key role in the strong emotional content it brings to its loyal consumers,” said Eduardo Velasco, a partner at L Catterton. “We are delighted that L Catterton, with our global presence and our recognised expertise in brand development, will stand alongside [APC’s] visionary founders, Jean and Judith, and its talented top executives, François-Cyrille and Joël, to bolster APC's growth and together write the next episode of the label's unique adventure,” added Velasco.
The operation, which is due to be completed by the first half of this year, coincides with two new appointments. François-Cyrille de Rendinger, currently managing director, has been appointed president, and Joël Sraer, previously the deputy managing director, has been named managing director.
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