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India: Lighthouse invests $35.5m for minority stake in footwear maker Aqualite

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Mid-market private equity firm Lighthouse Advisors Pvt. Ltd has invested about $35.5 million (Rs 250 crore) for a minority stake in footwear company Aqualite Industries , the companies said in a statement.

The deal, which marks Lighthouse’s fourth investment this year, has been routed through its third fund – Lighthouse India Fund III.

Aqualite will use the funds for marketing, capacity expansion and growth plans, said a statement.

Sachin Bhartiya, Partner at Lighthouse, said, “We strongly believe in the growth story of footwear Industry in India with the current under penetration (per capita spend of only 1.8 pairs p.a. vs 3.1 in China) and consumer preference shift towards branded wear. Aqualite has achieved scale in footwear Industry, on back of product quality and relationship with the channel partners.”

Founded more than three decades ago, Aqualite offers more than 6,500 SKUs in hawai, non-hawai and shoe product categories. The products are sold under several sub-brands, under the umbrella of ‘Aqualite’. The company operates through its manufacturing units located across Haryana and Rajasthan. It has a pan-India distribution network of 35,000 retailers, with significant presence in north and east India.

The company is expecting a turnover of over Rs 800 crore in the current financial year.

“We are very excited to partner with Lighthouse, given their impressive track record of investments in over twenty-five brands. We look forward to their support and guidance for our next leg of growth,” Davinder Gupta, founder of Aqualite Industries said.

Lighthouse is focused on growth investments in India’s consumer sector. The firm invested Rs 160 crore in mattress brand Duroflex last month. In September, it made an investment of Rs113 crore in Indian beauty products retailer Nykaa, while in June, it invested Rs 83 crore in Tynor Orthotics, an orthotic soft goods brand.

In the past, it has also backed other consumer centric brands such as Bikaji Foods, luxury premium ayurvedic personal care brand Kama Ayurveda, ethnic lifestyle brand FabIndia, sanitary ware brand Cera, laminates maker Stylam Industries, QSR chain Wow! Momo, and value retailer V2 Retail.

(As published in https://www.dealstreetasia.com on Wed, December 05 2018. )