New Look value halved after failure to float

Fashion chain New Look's value has cut by almost half by its private-equity backers after it failed to float with a £1.7bn price a year ago.

The company has been hit by the ongoing tough consumer climate since it shelved its plans to float

Last month it said it had been badly hit by the freezing weather before Christmas and had been forced into major discounting in its January sales.

Its same-store sales in the 15 weeks up to 8 January plunged 9.1 per cent.

UK private-equity firms Permira and Apax backed New Look founder Tom Singh when he took the chain private at a cost of £699m in 2004.

Permira confirmed it had written down the valuation of New Look but declined to say by how much or to what value.

However, SVG Capital, the listed fund which invests directly in Permira funds, today said it had cut the value of its small holding in New Look from £25.7m to £13.5m, a reduction of 47 per cent.

SVG said: "New Look suffered from the worsening retail environment towards the end of 2010 and the adverse weather conditions during the Christmas period. A decline in like-for-like sales, a higher promotional mix and stock clearances have driven a decline in the company's earnings."

Permira and SVG also said the private-equity firms have taken a considerable amount of cash out of New Look since it was acquired seven years ago.

Permira and Apax each hold 27.7 per cent stakes while Singh has 22.5 per cent.