Sep 09, 2010 at 9:04am
Ghana’s GTP, Woodin sold for $151m
Two of Ghana’s remaining textile prides, GTP and Woodin, have been sold off to Actis, a private equity investor in emerging markets, which currently has $4.8 billion funds under management with a growing portfolio of investments in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Specifically, the private equity firm has paid a sum of $151 million for 100% control of the Vlisco Group which produced the textile brands, GTP and Woodin.

The sale comes after much agitation over the past few years by workers of the Ghana Textile Printing Company (GTP) as well as a section of Ghanaians to scuttle attempts to sell the company after the demise of others such as Juapong Textiles Ltd and Freedom Textiles Ltd.

A press release issued today and copied to announced the sale, indicated that Actis, has acquired Vlisco Group, producers of a portfolio of popular West and Central African fashion brands including Ghanaian produced GTP and Woodin.

As part of the deal Actis, has appointed Hans Ouwendijk, who has a distinguished track record with international apparel brands including Laura Ashley and Mexx, as CEO of the Vlisco Group.

Speaking in Ghana, Actis’s Head of West Africa, Ngozi Edozien said: “Brands like GTP that are steeped in Ghanaian cultural heritage offer up a fantastic opportunity, which is why we are focused on growth whilst fiercely protecting the quality that has earned these brands their reputation.”

For his part, Erik Van der Staaij, Vlisco Group representative in Ghana said, “We are convinced that given the experience, commitment and interest of Actis in Africa, this new venture will propel our GTP, Woodin and Vlisco brands to even greater heights of prosperity.”

He added that as a notable investor in modern retail facilities for Africa like the Accra Mall, Actis’s buying into well established African textile and fashion business will help to fast track Ghanaian retail network ambitions.

The Vlisco Group has been in existence for 164 years and leads African design trends in printed and wax fashion fabrics. Worn by everybody from politicians and celebrities to men and women on the street, the brands are synonymous with style and contemporary quality in West and Central Africa, the press statement alluded.

The Vlisco Group has strong retail presence in a number of countries including Ghana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d‟Ivoire, Togo and Benin and contributes to multiple West African economies with brands ranging from premium (Vlisco), through mid-tier (Uniwax), to contemporary (GTP and Woodin) produced in Ghana.

The company directly employs over 2,100 people, of which 1,500 people are located in West Africa, with over 490 employed in Tema. The Vlisco Group’s downstream supply chain also indirectly employs many more, supporting entrepreneurialism among distributors, shopkeepers and tailors.

The four brands of the company form an essential part of the vibrant West African culture and fashion scene with fabrics varying from more traditional to contemporary, to highly innovative in design and colour.

These uniquely recognisable designs appeal to a broad cross section of West and Central African society and the wider diaspora, with increasing influence on Western fashion design trends.

On the other hand, Actis has strong and relevant experience from its other consumer brand investments in Africa, such as Mouka Foam (a consumer durables company) and UAC (a consumer focused conglomerate whose business include packaged foods and quick service restaurants).

According to the press statement, in line with Actis’s mission to always add significant value beyond capital, Actis will work with the Vlisco Group management team in distribution, marketing, and other operations, while also bringing expertise in environmental, social and governance standards.

Actis maintains that it is committed to working with industry, government, and other groups to support the important African wax fabric and fashion industry in West Africa.

It currently has over 100 investment professionals on the ground in nine offices worldwide with over $1.5 billion funds under management in 17 African countries, and over 25 investment professionals located in Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, Kenya and London.

Actis is the investor that managed the development process, invested the equity and raised the debt to finance a $36 million mall project in Accra in 2006-2007 which is now known as the Accra Mall and has become very popular with Accra residents.

In 2010, Actis was named African Private Equity Firm of the Year by Private Equity International magazine for the third consecutive year.

Vlisco Group has four brands in its portfolio which are its luxury brand with much international appeal, Real Dutch Wax or Hollandais, Uniwax (Ivory Coast) and GTP (Ghana) which are nationally oriented brands, although Uniwax also exports to a number of neighbouring countries.

The Woodin brand on the other hand targets younger consumers across West Africa with fabrics and targeted ready-to-wear collections demonstrating contemporary value. The strategy of Woodin is to mainly sell through its own retail channel, where fast stock turn and flexibility play a major role.

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