Lloyds equity arm snaps up Mountain Warehouse

Marion Dakers
LLOYDS Banking Group’s private equity arm has bought a 20 to 25 per cent stake in outdoor retailer Mountain Warehouse in a deal valuing the firm at £50m.

Lloyds Development Capital (LDC) announced the purchase from Icelandic investment vehicle Arev yesterday, but later pulled the statement from its website. However, the deal is believed to be going ahead.

Mountain Warehouse, which has 100 branches across the UK, is majority-owned by the chain’s founder and managing director Mark Neale. Its profit rose 74 per cent to £6.2m last year, on the back of sales worth £45.5m. The retailer added 30 branches in 2009 and plans for similar growth this year.

Arev bought into the company in 2007 when it backed a management buyout, but has been hit hard by the credit crunch.

Arev and sister company Kcaj sold their stakes in retailer Ghost, dressmaker Hardy Amies and maternitywear chain Blooming Marvellous, after all three fell into administration. LDC has £2bn invested in up and coming projects, mostly in the UK.