Qatari investor group snaps up stake in luxury handbag firm

Anya Hindmarch deal values the business at £70m ($109m)
By Claire Valdini
Sun 05 Aug 2012 11:19 AM

London-based handbag and accessories company, Anya Hindmarch, has sold a minority stake to a Qatari investor group.

The deal values the business at £70m ($109m) on the back of a capital increase and the purchase of an existing minority stake held by UK private equity investors, Anya Hindmarch said.

“The arrival of the new minority investor is the next step in a series of initiatives planned to accelerate the company’s growth strategy,” the firm said in an emailed statement. It did not confirm the name of the investor group,

The deal will significantly increase the Gulf state’s assets in the European luxury goods market. Qatar Holding paid $2.3bn for the Knightsbridge department store Harrods in 2010 and also owns assets ranging from stakes in German sports car maker Porsche to shares in British bank Barclays.

Doha-based Mayhoola for Investments S.P.C acquired the Italian fashion house Valentino for €700m ($857.5m) last month. Analysts say the latest purchases have been spearheaded by the wife of the Qatari Emir, HH Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser, who is known for love of fashion.

Sheikha Mozah, who was last week voted among the most stylish women in the world by US magazine Vanity Fair, owns the Qatar Luxury Group, which has a stake in French leather goods maker Le Tanneur & Cie.

Fashion designer Anya Hindmarch rose to prominence as a result of her bespoke bags, which allowed buyers to put their personal photographs printed onto a bag and the popular ‘I’m Not a Plastic Bag’ cloth bags.

The designer, who will remain as the company’s creative director, opened her first store in 1987 in London's West End and the brand now has around fifty stores in seventeen countries. The company last year signed a deal with Qatar’s SH Almana Co to open stores across the Middle East.

The Qatar-based firm will be the exclusive licence holder and master distributor for the British handbag designer and plans to open the first branded store in Dubai Mall, Larabella Riaz, general manager of business development and strategic marketing at SH Almana Co, told Arabian Business.

Further stores are also planned for Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar, he added.

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