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Carlyle Buys Majority Stake in India's VLCC

January 13, 2023
January 13, 2023
cottonbro studio via Pexels

Private-equity firm Carlyle Group acquired a majority stake in New Delhi-based beauty and wellness services provider VLCC Healthcare Ltd for around $300 million.

WHO: Founded in 1989 by Vandana and Mukesh Luthra, VLCC provides aesthetic dermal treatments and weight management services across a network of 210 retail clinics in 118 cities and 11 countries in South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. In addition, it operates 100 skill development institutes in India.

WHY: The investment underscores Carlyle's overall conviction in India's long-term economic and domestic consumption story. The private equity firm has invested over $5.5 billion in over 40 transactions in India as of September 2022.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Mukesh Luthra, Chairman of VLCC, said, "The investment by one of the world's largest global investment firms—that has built a stellar reputation for creating long-term value for companies, shareholders, people and communities—is a reaffirmation of the strength of the VLCC brand that we have nurtured, built and grown over the last three decades."

Amit Jain, managing director and co-head of Carlyle India, said, "Carlyle will help VLCC accelerate growth through investments in brand building, product expansion, and build on a national digital and e-commerce network. Currently modern trade contributes 38% of the topline, of which 23-25% is through e-commerce as compared to single digits 3 years ago. Likewise ad spends that are 10 to 12% of the topline will be scaled up."

Jain added, "The share of discretionary spends will only go up in India and the looking good, feeling better trend will rise as India's per capital consumption spends double from $2000/per capita to $5000/per capita and even higher. In today's clutter of D2C brands, VLCC stands out with its product efficacy, brand awareness, trust factor. And it’s evident as 60% plus are repeat customers in our services business this fiscal," said Jain.

DETAILS:

  • Carlyle Group acquired VLCC Healthcare Ltd, paying $275-$300 million for a 65-70% stake in the business. 
  • VLCC filed papers for an IPO twice. The first time was in 2015, and then again in August 2021. They were headed for an IPO in mid-2022, but it did not launch the issue and let its DRHP lapse.
  • Founders Vandana and Mukesh Luthra, who owned 95% of the company with the employees owning 5%, will maintain a significant minority stake. 
  • VLCC's online sales grew from 7% of total sales to 22% in the past three years. 
  • In FY23, the business is expected to post revenues of Rs 1000 crore and an EBITDA of Rs 250 crore, with 70% of sales coming from its skin and beauty product segment.
  • The equity for the transaction will come from funds managed and advised by entities affiliated with Carlyle Asia Partners.
  • VLCC will appoint Gurveen Singh and J. Suresh as independent directors to the board.
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