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UK's Hilco acquires Irish retail business A|wear
22
Oct '11
UK-based distressed restructuring specialist firm Hilco has acquired A|wear, a fashion retailer based in Ireland.

Though no details regarding the acquisition cost have been disclosed, Hilco said it would provide extended working capital facility to A|wear to cater to the financial needs of the business.

In 2007, Brown Thomas sold A|wear to a conglomerate comprising UK private equity group Alchemy Partners and management for a reported price of €70 million. The consortium acquired a 20 percent stake in the acquired firm.

The deal was supported by debt extended by Ulster Bank. However, it is yet not clear if the Bank has consented to write off the entire sum or a part of the debt in support of current Hilco deal.

A|wear too, like most other retailers in the country, faced tough times during the global slump. The revenues of A|wear's parent firm Maple Topco Ltd plummeted to €44.8 million during the 12 months ended January 2010 from €58.1 million recorded in the 12 months ended January 2009. The company incurred a loss of €17.8 million during the period, as against a loss of €4.7 million in the previous 12 months.

At the end of 2010-11 fiscal, the parent firm's bank borrowings hiked to €34.4 million.

As stated by A|wear, overall sales of the firm for 2010 came to be worth €48 million.

Mr. Paul McGowan from Northern Ireland is currently the Chief Executive of Hilco, while Larry Howard, who initially served as a Finance Executive with Dunnes Stores, has been appointed as Managing Director of Hilco's Irish office since September 1, 2011.

Speaking about the recent acquisition, Mr. McGowan said they are very happy to have acquired one of the leading retail brands of Ireland and hope to extend operational support to the retail business in times to come as A|wear's administration would be in need of finance to cope with the market conditions prevailing in Ireland and also to build its overseas market.

A|wear started its retail business in Ireland in early 1960s and now employs a staff of around 370 persons. The firm operates three outlets in the UK and 39 outlets in Ireland and also has an online sale point and wholesale businesses.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India


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