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We are Passionate about Building Brands

"Our mantra is about brands and that's what ties us together as a firm."
- Lyndon Lea

    Producer of frozen snacks and ready meals

    At the time of Lion Capital’s acquisition, Ad van Geloven, founded in 1960, was the leading branded producer of frozen snacks and meal components in the Benelux with a full range of products across the category and strong market positions in both the foodservice and retail channels. The company produced various meat ragout products (such as croquettes and bitterballs), minced meat products (frikandels and hamburgers), spring rolls, satay, bami and nasi products. Branded operations were anchored by flagship brand, Mora, the most recognised frozen snack brand in the Benelux region, holding leading positions in all category segments. Headquartered in Tilburg, the company employed more than 900 people across five factories in the Netherlands and Belgium. In 2014, the company generated net sales of €195 million.

    During Lion’s ownership, the business faced strong headwinds from challenging consumer environments in its key markets and unprecedented raw material inflation levels. Despite this, Lion Capital continued to invest behind the Mora brand, new product development and a stronger management team. The company’s performance bounced back strongly in the most recent periods of Lion’s ownership and reached the highest level of sales and earnings in its history prior to Lion’s sale of the business in 2015 to TowerBrook Capital Partners. 

    Third-largest branded optical retailer in Europe

    Created in 1972 by Alain Afflelou, the company is the third-largest branded optical retailer in Europe, specialising in optical services and sales of lenses, frames, sunglasses, and contact lenses. Alain Afflelou has over 1,160 optical retail stores under the Alain Afflelou and Claro banners across France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Morocco, Lebanon and the Ivory Coast. Built on innovative and value-added product offers for customers, the Afflelou brand enjoys high levels of consumer awareness delivered through strong marketing and advertising. Afflelou is currently the largest optical retail franchisor in France, and the fifth largest optical retail chain in Spain. In its most recent fiscal year, Alain Afflelou generated nearly €650 million in sales across its retail network.

    Differentiated jewelry and lifestyle brand

    Alex and Ani is a highly-differentiated, affordable fashion jewelry and lifestyle brand. Founded in 2004 by Carolyn Rafaelian, the company’s signature product is the expandable and stackable wire bangle.  These are adorned with symbols of empowerment and protection and feature adjustable sizing.  The company also produces earrings, necklaces, rings, home fragrances and candles.  All items are manufactured in America and the materials utilized are sustainable and derived from eco-conscious processes. Since establishing its first retail store in Rhode Island in 2009, Alex and Ani has grown to over 40 stand-alone retail sites in the U.S. and also sells through department stores, gift shops and high-end jewelry chains across the country. Revenues in the most recent fiscal year were $319 million.

    Contemporary fashion branded retailer

    AllSaints is a contemporary fashion branded retailer of menswear, womenswear, footwear, and accessories led by an award-winning in-house design team. Originally established in London in 1994, the company has grown to become a leading global fashion brand with over 130 stand-alone shops and in-store concessions worldwide as well as a world-class digital platform. The brand’s distinctive aesthetic underpins one of the most unique fashion offerings today, supported by a digital strategy focused on providing the best experience at each point in the customer journey. Revenues in its most recent fiscal year were over £230 million.


    Geographic Expansion

    Measured expansion in new and existing markets has accelerated AllSaints financial performance. Under Lion Capital’s ownership, the company has implemented a program to help identify new store locations in select markets across Europe, Asia and North America. During this period, AllSaints has expanded in current markets with 59 new points of sale across North America and Europe, including new flagship stores in Los Angeles, Toronto, Paris and Amsterdam, as well as new locations in South Korea, Taiwan and Dubai. Plans to roll-out the brand into other new geographies are currently underway.

    SEE MORE STORIES OF Geographic Expansion >

    Operating Improvements

    At the time of Lion Capital’s acquisition, AllSaints was operationally and financially challenged following a period of over-expansion. Lion took several material steps to turnaround the business that included wholesale change to the management team, a new distribution centre in the U.S. and rationalisation of the supplier base.

    SEE MORE STORIES OF Operating Improvements >

    Vertically integrated manufacturer, distributor
    and retailer of branded fashion-basic apparel

    During the time of Lion Capital’s investment, American Apparel was a vertically integrated manufacturer, distributor and retailer of branded fashion basic apparel. Based in downtown Los Angeles, the company operates over 240 retail stores in twenty countries, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, United Kingdom, Ireland, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and China. American Apparel's global e-commerce site serves over 60 countries worldwide with a leading wholesale business that supplies high quality T-shirts and other casual wear to distributors and screen printers. American Apparel is known for its "Made in Downtown LA" vertically integrated operations which minimise the use of sub-contractors and offshore labor, with knitting, dyeing, sewing, photography, marketing, distribution and design all conducted at the company’s facilities in Los Angeles. American Apparel is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange and reported consolidated net sales of more than $600 million in 2013.

    Lion Capital’s investment in American Apparel was made in the form of senior secured notes, which included several million detachable warrants convertible into shares of the company’s common stock.  American Apparel repaid Lion’s notes in early 2013.

    Global specialty bakery business

    At the time of Lion Capital’s investment, Aryzta AG was a worldwide specialty bakery business that serviced an extensive network of customers across North America, Europe, South East Asia, and Australia. The company manufactured and distributed high quality bread, croissants, baked snacks and patisserie products sold to restaurants, food outlets, hotels, grocery stores, catering companies and gas filling stations. Aryzta had 8,000 employees whilst operating 23 manufacturing and 111 distribution facilities. 

    Lion Capital’s investment in Aryzta originated with the Firm’s initial investment in Hiestand Holding AG. In February 2008, Lion acquired a 32% stake in publicly-listed Hiestand, a leading European bakery and convenience food company with strong market positions in Switzerland and Germany. In June 2008, Lion sold its stake in Hiestand to IAWS Group plc. The two companies subsequently merged to create Aryzta AG, a new Swiss-based holding company, with dual primary listings on the SWX Swiss and Irish Exchanges. Lion Capital sold its shares in Aryzta in early 2009.

    Specialty retailer of outdoor equipment and clothing

    At the time of Lion Capital’s acquisition of the company, AS Adventure Group was a specialty retailer of outdoor equipment and clothing, operating a network of retail stores in Belgium, Luxembourg and France under the AS Adventure brand, in the United Kingdom under the Cotswold Outdoor brand, and in the Netherlands under the Bever brand. The Group’s product offering included biking, trekking, climbing, skiing and camping accessories in addition to casual outdoor clothing across an extensive range of leading outdoor brands and the company’s own-label offering. AS Adventure offered outdoor enthusiasts specialty knowledge, quality products and personal service, delivering each customer a unique shopping experience. In 2014, the company generated net sales of €380 million.

    Under Lion Capital’s ownership, AS Adventure nearly doubled its sales and EBITDA increased by almost 70%. The company achieved attractive store growth in all markets, expanding its retail footprint by over 60 stores and significantly growing digital sales. In April 2015, Lion sold the company to PAI Partners. 

    Global Brand Development Company

    Authentic Brands Group is a brand development company, which builds long-term value through the ownership of intellectual property associated with a global portfolio of prominent consumer brands. ABG's portfolio spans the fashion, sports, celebrity and entertainment segments, and currently includes such brands as Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Muhammad Ali, Shaquille O’Neal, Michael Jackson, Juicy Couture, Jones New York, Judith Leiber, Hickey Freeman, Hart Schaffner Marx, Spyder, Tapout, Prince, Tretorn, Airwalk, Vision Street Wear, among others. This footprint enables ABG to develop partnerships with best-in-class licensees and key accounts across retail channels from high-end department and specialty stores to mid-tier retailers. ABG was founded in 2010 by current Chairman and CEO, Jamie Salter with the backing of Leonard Green & Partners. Its brands currently generate in excess of $3B in annual retail sales.

    North America's largest branded
    shelf-stable seafood company

    Founded in 1899, Bumble Bee Foods is North America’s largest branded shelf-stable seafood company, offering a full line of canned and pouched tuna, salmon, sardines, and specialty seafood products. Bumble Bee Foods are marketed in the U.S. under leading brands including Bumble Bee, Brunswick, Sweet Sue, Snow’s, Beach Cliff, Wild Selections, Bumble Bee SuperFresh, and in Canada under the Clover Leaf brand. The company’s diverse product offering is sold through every major U.S. and Canadian food retailer and food distributor including supermarkets, mass merchandisers, drug stores, warehouse clubs and discount stores. The Bumble Bee brand, fully committed to promoting the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle, has established significant consumer awareness and loyalty based on the quality, nutritional value, and affordability of its products. In 2014, the company generated nearly $1 billion of net revenue.

    OUR APPROACH FOR Bumble Bee Foods

    Category Extension

    Under Lion Capital’s ownership, Bumble Bee Foods has pursued several initiatives to leverage its strong credentials in shelf-stable seafood into product assortments beyond the current offerings. Category extensions include the recently launched SuperFresh frozen range, a premium frozen seafood product.

    SEE MORE STORIES OF Category Extension >

    Product Innovation

    Under Lion Capital’s ownership, Bumble Bee Foods has made an aggressive effort to drive innovation and is now at the forefront of innovation within the shelf-stable seafood category. The company has successfully launched several new concepts that meet consumers’ demand for healthy, tasty, convenient and affordable products, including a certified sustainable premium line of seafood and a retro-inspired canned tuna pack.

    SEE MORE STORIES OF Product Innovation >

    Global, Luxury Sneaker Brand

    Buscemi is a global, luxury sneaker brand that is achieving explosive growth through a differentiated product offering and passionate dedication to producing the highest quality sneaker in the world. Buscemi was founded in 2013 in Los Angeles by sneaker connoisseur and industry veteran Jon Buscemi, with a vision of combining creative street sneaker style with the highest quality craftsmanship in the world. The company’s signature product is the “100 mm” (millimeter), which is distinguished by a signature gold padlock and retails in the U.S. starting at $890. All products are 100% hand-made in Italy. Buscemi has recently begun to successfully expand its product range to women’s and baby sneakers as well as accessories, including bags and wallets.  Buscemi is currently sold through 180 doors in luxury wholesale department stores worldwide including Selfridges, Harrods, Neiman Marcus, Barneys, Harvey Nichols and Holt Renfrew and influential boutiques and specialty retail accounts in Europe, US, Australia and Asia. Buscemi has achieved record-setting momentum at several of these retailers.

    One of Europe’s largest frozen food
    and seafood companies

    Findus Group is one of Europe’s largest frozen food and seafood companies. Collectively, the parent group of Findus, Young’s and The Seafood Company, bring together a leading frozen food business in the Nordics, a leading frozen and chilled seafood company in the U.K., and a fast-growing frozen food business in France. In the Nordics, Findus is an iconic brand delivering premium frozen food across all major categories of fish, vegetables, meals and bakery. In the U.K., Young’s has a market leading position in branded seafood through the Young’s brand and supplies most of the major U.K. retailers with private-label chilled seafood. In Southern Europe, Findus is the market leader for frozen food in France, and the market leader in frozen vegetables in Spain. In its most recent fiscal year, the Group reported over £1.2 billion of turnover.

    Premium hair styling appliances and products

    Founded in 2001, ghd revolutionised the hair styling market by developing a hair iron based on superior patent-protected technology that enabled stylists to straighten and style hair quickly and with less damage. Today, ghd is a leading manufacturer and retailer of premium hair styling irons, complementary wet products and other hair styling accessories, enjoying unmatched levels of customer loyalty in its core markets. Products are sold through a direct presence in ghd-approved hair salons in 14 countries across several markets in Europe, as well as Australia, South Africa and the U.S., in addition to its own website and via premium high street retailers. In its most recent fiscal year, ghd generated over £155 million in sales.

    Behind the leadership of a new management team appointed by Lion Capital, ghd achieved 9% annualized top-line growth supported by the successful expansion of the brand’s core styler range through several new product launches.  The company also capitalized on ghd’s credentials as a technology leader to enter into the hair drying and curling categories.   In November 2016, Lion sold the company to Coty, one of the world’s leading beauty companies.

    An innovative, fast-growing active nutrition brand

    Grenade is a fast-growing international active nutrition brand based in the UK. The company was founded in 2010, and is particularly well-known for its industry-leading ‘Carb Killa’ range of high-protein, low-sugar snacking bars and drinks. The brand is widely recognised as one of the most innovative players in this fast-growing category, and has a loyal following of consumers across a wide range of demographics. Grenade’s healthy, functional snacking products and supplements are sold in over 100 countries and the company has a number of industry-leading products in major convenience stores, health-food shops and supermarkets. Lion Capital intends to support the brand’s continued growth through new product development as well as expansion of distribution across channels and geographies. 

    International general merchandise retailer
    of products under the HEMA brand

    HEMA is an international general merchandise retailer with more than 680 stores across the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, France, Germany and the U.K. selling an extensive product offering in every household category under the HEMA brand. An 80-year old institution, HEMA employs an in-house design and development team that supports the company’s creative, modern product design and strong value pricing. The company is a leader in many product categories in the Netherlands where it enjoys virtually 100% brand awareness.

    Iconic luxury fashion brand

    At the time of Lion Capital’s acquisition of the company, Jimmy Choo was a leading worldwide luxury brand specialising in women's shoes, known for their sexy cut, fashionable design, and exceptional Italian craftsmanship, and handbags. The company also offered small leather goods, later adding scarves, sunglasses, eyewear, belts, fragrance and men’s shoes. Headquartered in London, Jimmy Choo evolved from a niche shoe producer in 1996 to a global luxury brand, operating more than 150 retail stores in 32 countries, selling through prestigious department and specialty stores worldwide.

    Under Lion Capital’s ownership, the company doubled the number of retail points of sale, and achieved 25% annualised growth in shoe sales whilst handbag sales grew at an annualised rate of over 100%. Over this same two-year period, both sales and EBITDA nearly doubled. In February 2007, Lion sold the company to TowerBrook Capital Partners.

    Award-winning men's lifestyle brand

    John Varvatos is a brand that occupies a unique place in the landscape of American design. It unites old world craftsmanship and refined tailoring with modern innovations in textiles and a rock 'n' roll sensibility. Launched in 2000 with a collection of tailored clothing and sportswear, the brand now represents an entire lifestyle that includes belts, bags, footwear, eyewear, limited edition watches, luxury skincare and fragrances, as well as the younger, edgier John Varvatos Star USA collection, and Converse by John Varvatos. Since launching the company in 2000, designer John Varvatos has been recognised three times by the CFDA with an American Fashion Award for New Menswear Designer (June 2000), Menswear Designer of the Year (June 2001 and June 2005), and was honored as GQ’s “Designer of the Year” in 2007. The collection is distributed in freestanding John Varvatos boutiques across the U.S., through the company’s web-presence, and in high-end department stores throughout the world. In 2014, John Varvatos generated sales of over $130 million.

    Leading brand of all-natural snacking products

    Established in 1978, at the time of Lion Capital’s acquisition Kettle Foods was a pioneer of and one of the leaders in the premium kettle-cooked potato chip category, with a commitment to making every product with all natural ingredients and without trans fats, artificial flavors or preservatives. Packaged in state-of-the-art facilities in the U.S. and U.K. and distributed throughout North America, the U.K., Western Europe and several countries in Asia, Kettle branded products included fried and baked potato chips, along with nuts and nut-mixes. Acknowledged by AC Nielsen as having created the 'premium' chip category in the U.K., the company enjoyed a 60% market share in the natural channel and 18% of the total premium chips category in the U.S.

    Under Lion Capital’s ownership from 2006 to 2010, Kettle Foods achieved significant distribution and market penetration gains in the U.K. and the U.S., leading to double-digit annualised growth in group revenues. In 2007, the company added a second manufacturing facility in the U.S., doubling capacity in that market and significantly reducing distribution costs. Strong revenue growth and margin improvements led to 30% annualised growth in profitability over this same period. In the final year of Lion's ownership, Kettle employed over 700 people and generated sales of over $250 million. In March 2010, Lion Capital sold Kettle Foods to Diamond Foods, Inc. (NASDAQ: DMND).

    Specialty lingerie retailer in the U.K. and Europe

    At the time of Lion Capital’s investment, La Senza was a market leading intimate and lingerie retailer specialising in bras, loungewear, daywear and accessories. Headquartered in London, the company was the largest independent lingerie retailer in the U.K. To differentiate itself, the brand combined a broad product offering, distinctive packaging and superior customer service. This focus offered customers a boutique-like experience at an affordable price, and the company enjoyed a high level of brand awareness, anchored by a strong position with women aged 15 to 29. La Senza sold products through a network of retail outlets that grew to 212 under Lion’s ownership.

    Following an initial two years of growth under our ownership, La Senza suffered a significant decline in trading through the year-end holiday season in 2008, primarily due to the difficult high street retail environment in the U.K. In 2009, Lion Capital put in place initiatives to simplify and stabilise the business, and La Senza’s trading levels rebounded. However, the retailing environment in the U.K. deteriorated again in 2011, and La Senza’s performance declined to a point where it was unable to continue trading as a going concern. On 23 December 2011, La Senza U.K. filed for administration citing "trading conditions" as one of the conditions for closure.

    Chain of informal, all-day neighborhood café-bars

    Loungers is a fast-growing UK chain of informal, all-day, neighborhood café-bars, founded in Bristol in 2002. The Lounges are places where families, friends, and local residents can come for a coffee, a drink or something to eat in a relaxed and comfortable environment.  The menu is available all day and offers a wide range of dishes alongside an extensive selection of coffee and loose-leaf teas, cakes & pastries, freshly squeezed juices, wines, draught beers and cocktails. In 2010, Loungers launched a second brand, Cosy Club, which offers a slightly more formal occasion with several upscale additions to its food menu and a more extensive drinks offering. Both formats successfully combine elements of casual dining, British pub and coffee shop culture, appealing to a broad range of occasions and demographics. Loungers has grown rapidly over the past five years to nearly 100 sites across the UK. Lion Capital plans to expand its presence through further rollout into new locations.

    Leading manufacturer of branded compotes and jams,
    as well as industrial preserves

    Headquartered in France, at the time of Lion Capital’s acquisition Materne specialised in producing fruit compotes, jams and fillings for consumer products and the foodservice and catering industry. The majority of Materne’s products were sold in France, with a small export component to Benelux countries and the U.K. At the time of Lion’s ownership, Materne was the second largest producer of jams in France through the Materne, Confipote and Pom’Potes brands, and the market leader in France in the fruit snack pouches category under the Pom’Potes brand. Materne was also the market leader of the fruit compotes category within both the pouch and cup formats.

    Over the course of our ownership, Lion Capital achieved a turnaround in Materne’s operational performance that led to a near doubling of its profitability by the second year of our investment. In December 2006, Lion sold the company to Activa Capital, owner of Mont Blanc, a leading manufacturer of ambient dairy cream desserts in France.

    Russian juice producer

    Founded in Siberia in 1998, at the time of Lion Capital’s investment Nidan was the fourth largest juice producer in Russia, selling more than 100 varieties of juices, nectars and fruit drinks, with a number one position in Siberia. Nidan’s portfolio of branded juice products was led by flagship brand, Moya Semya, and included the Sokos, Caprice, Caprice Tea, Champion and Da! brands. The company enjoyed an extensive distribution network across Russia and Eastern Europe. Headquartered in Moscow, Nidan operated 20 production lines in two plants with total capacity of more than 870 million litres of production per annum. 

    Under Lion Capital’s ownership, sales growth was reinvigorated through increased investment in Nidan’s leading beverage brands along with a reinvigoration of new product development activities. Lion also undertook certain operational improvements to reduce overhead expenses and increase efficiencies within the production facilities of the business. In August 2010, Lion Capital sold Nidan to The Coca-Cola Company.

    Fruit-based stills and soft drinks beverage company

    Headquartered in Paris, during Lion Capital’s ownership Orangina Schweppes was the number three player in the 31 billion-litre European soft drinks market. The company marketed, bottled and distributed several carbonated soft drinks, stills and other beverages across several European markets under five market-leading premium brands (Schweppes, Orangina, La Casera, Oasis and TriNa). At the time of Lion’s exit in 2009, Orangina Schweppes generated annual sales of over €1.0 billion.

    Over the course of our investment, several key strategic changes were brought to bear on the operations of the company, supported by a significant number of new appointments to the senior management team.  Increased support of the key brands and investment in innovation led to a reinvigoration of the company’s core brands. Certain non-core businesses were exited whilst several complementary acquisitions expanded the company’s presence in the Ukraine, Portugal and within the French fruit concentrate category. Under the leadership of a largely new senior management team, Orangina Schweppes achieved above-market financial performance that led to Suntory Holdings acquiring the company from co-owners Lion Capital and The Blackstone Group in late 2009.

    OUR APPROACH FOR Orangina Schweppes

    Geographic Expansion

    Driving international business expansion at Orangina Schweppes was an important component of Lion Capital’s growth strategy for the business. Under Lion’s ownership, the company established partnerships in Sweden and Norway and entered emerging markets in India, Vietnam, Russia and Ukraine. Orangina Schweppes also aligned the brand portfolio with a new strategy to focus on fruit-based drinks, specifically within the fast growing stills category, where acquisitions were also made in Portugal and France. 

    SEE MORE STORIES OF Geographic Expansion >

    Operating Improvements

    Prior to our acquisition, Orangina Schweppes brands were suffering declines in volumes, price per litre and market share. Lion Capital pursued change in several areas operationally, implementing cost cutting initiatives and cross-border synergies and streamlining the supply chain. These steps combined with our top line growth strategy led to a turnaround in the business. By the end of Lion's ownership period in 2009, Orangina Schweppes was the fastest-growing food and beverage company in France ahead of Danone, Coca-Cola and Heineken.

    SEE MORE STORIES OF Operating Improvements >


    Premium Denim & Lifestyle Fashion Brand

    Paige is a differentiated premium denim and lifestyle brand that combines a casual California aesthetic with industry-leading comfort, fit and quality. The company was founded in 2004 by Paige Adams-Geller, Michael Geller and Michael Henschel with a heritage in women’s denim that has since grown into both the men’s and lifestyle categories. Alongside its curated distribution at high-end specialty boutiques, the Company holds a dominant position in the world’s premium department stores, including Saks, Bloomingdale’s, and Nordstrom in the U.S., and international shopping destinations such as Harrods and Selfridges in the U.K.  The Company is also driving tremendous growth and success in its portfolio of company-owned retail stores across the U.S. and its fast-growing e-commerce site. Paige’s distinct brand concept interlaces down-to-earth attitude with luxurious sophistication, which is brought to life through edgy yet effortless designs with a clean and simple aesthetic, resulting in a more versatile offering with meaningfully less fashion risk than typical apparel brands.

    Premium anti-ageing skincare

    Founded in 1997 by Dr. Nicholas Perricone, Perricone MD is a premium anti-ageing skincare brand that pioneered a ground-breaking approach to impede and help repair damage to skin utilising nutrient antioxidants in cosmeceutical formulations. These advanced anti-ageing topical treatments set a new industry standard for product efficacy, therein creating the ‘cosmeceutical’ category within skincare. Perricone MD has since established itself as the pre-eminent anti-ageing authority with the brand growing to become synonymous with cutting edge innovation in the category of science-based skincare. Today, Perricone MD offers a range of anti-ageing topicals and supplements, underpinned by a library of over 90-patented ingredients and formulas based on decades of research. Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, Perricone MD generated sales of $86 million in 2014.

    Private-label wet shaving blades and
    systems manufacturer

    Originally founded in 1875, at the time of Lion Capital’s ownership Personna was the leading global manufacturer of private-label wet shaving razors and blades, and industrial and specialty blades. The company’s products were sold in more than 85 countries, with four manufacturing sites, nine packaging locations, and thirteen sales and distribution centres across the globe. Personna operated under two business divisions: a wet shaving division and an industrial division. The company was headquartered in Cedar Knolls, New Jersey.

    After an initial few years of sales and earnings growth under Lion Capital’s ownership, Personna’s financial performance began to decline in 2009 when the company faced aggressive competition from certain private label and branded competitors. Following the loss of its largest U.S. customer and the entry into the private-label business by a large branded player (which marked a structural change to competition within the category), Personna’s financial performance deteriorated further. The company filed for protection under Chapter 11 with U.S. federal bankruptcy court in mid-2010 and later that year all of the company’s assets were acquired by Energizer Holdings, Inc.

    Frozen food brand and retailer

    Founded in 1974, Picard is the number one frozen food retailer in France, with a network of nearly 1,000 retailing outlets and a product range that offers customers over 1,100 unique offerings under the Picard brand. Picard is consistently recognised by customers for its high quality, choice, convenience and value. In 2014, Picard was voted the favourite retail concept by consumers in France. Picard also operates a much smaller portfolio of stores in Italy and has recently entered key markets in Sweden, Belgium and Luxembourg. In its most recent fiscal year, the company generated total sales of over €1.3 billion.

    Leading shoe retailer in Italy

    Founded in the 1920s by the Pittarello family, PittaRosso is a leading retailer in the Italian footwear market with a network of over 100 stores and a growing international presence of approximately 20 stores across France, Croatia and Slovenia. Through standard format stores averaging 1,500 square meters, PittaRosso sells a wide and diverse offering of footwear and complementary accessories for the whole family at attractive price points. The company is recognised for the quality of its product assortment and compelling value proposition for its customers. With an extensive supplier network in Italy and internationally that includes many leading sport shoe brands, PittaRosso is able to offer on-trend footwear for men, women and children at an unparalleled price-to-value ratio. PittaRosso generated sales of over €230 million in 2014.

    Russia's largest producer of vodka and
    premixed alcoholic beverages

    At the time of Lion’s investment, the Russian Alcohol Group was the leading producer of vodka in Russia, with a portfolio of exceptional brands and the farthest-reaching distribution network in the country. The company’s product range included Zelenaya Marka (Green Mark), the largest vodka brand by volume in Russia and Eastern Europe, and Zhuravli (Cranes), one of the best-performing brands in the premium vodka segment. The company was also a leader in the production of branded ready-to-drink alcoholic cocktails. Headquartered in Moscow, the brand generated sales of over $400 million in 2009.

    Lion Capital supported the company through a period of exceptional growth by supplementing the founding management team with experienced international executives, simplifying operations to drive cost efficiencies and service levels, and improving reporting and process disciplines to enable the business to eventually be integrated into a multinational group. During Lion’s ownership, the company’s key brands grew strongly and gained market share. In late 2009, Central European Distribution Corporation, one of the world’s largest spirits businesses, acquired Lion’s stake in Russian Alcohol Group.

    Leading direct seller of custom-made
    engagement rings in Canada

    Founded in 1978 in Vancouver, Spence is the leading direct seller of custom-made engagement rings with seven showrooms in Canada. Showrooms average 6,000 square feet and feature 2,500+ different ring styles displayed in open showcases to encourage browsing and interaction with the merchandise. The company, recognised for its wide choice of quality diamonds and sought after rings designs, employs highly trained sales consultants who are on hand to guide customers through the ring selection process. By empowering customers with education on diamonds and delivering quality stones at a superior value through vertical integration, Spence has maintained a leadership position in the category for over 30 years. In 2014, the company generated sales of CAD $48 million.

    Producer of bakery products across
    Nordic and Baltic regions

    At the time of Lion Capital’s acquisition, the Vaasan Group was a leading producer of bakery products across the Nordic and Baltic regions, with a strong portfolio of local champion brands. The Group offered market-leading production and distribution capabilities with a focus on developing healthy snacking products for domestic and international markets. The company operated 18 production sites and distributed its products daily to over 6,500 retail outlets across the Nordic and Baltic region, as well as exporting to over 40 international markets. In 2014, the company generated over €390 million of sales.

    In June 2015, Lion Capital sold Vaasan to Lantmännen Group, a Swedish agricultural cooperative and owner of Lantmännen Unibake, an international bakery company and manufacturer of frozen and fresh bread products for both the food service and food retail sectors. The merger of the two businesses created a leading Nordic player in the bakery sector with a broad product range servicing customers across multiple channels.

    Japanese-inspired noodle bar restaurant chain

    At the time of Lion Capital’s acquisition of the company, wagamama was the U.K.’s leading chain of branded Japanese-style noodle bars, offering meals based around ramen and udon noodles in broth, various noodle-based dry dishes, curries and accompaniments as well as fresh juices and smoothies. Since its establishment in 1992, the chain had grown to 32 company-owned restaurants in the U.K., with franchised operations in seven other countries in Europe, the Middle East and Australasia at the time of Lion’s initial investment.

    Over the course of Lion Capital’s ownership, wagamama’s restaurant estate more than doubled through the opening of nearly 40 restaurants in the United Kingdom, three in the United States (which was the brand’s first entry into the market), and 25 franchised restaurants in 16 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Australasia. The development of a smaller restaurant format during this period supported the brand’s expansion in the U.K. Several operational improvements supported the expansion of profit margins, enabling the company to grow earnings through a challenging recessionary period. In April 2011, Lion Capital sold the company to Duke Street.

    OUR APPROACH FOR wagamama

    Geographic Expansion

    Under Lion Capital’s ownership, wagamama stepped up its penetration of current and new markets rolling out nearly 70 new restaurants worldwide.  The successful expansion led to strong and consistent sales growth and transformed the brand from a London-focused chain into an international restaurant brand.

    SEE MORE STORIES OF Geographic Expansion >

    Leading British breakfast cereal company

    Founded in 1932, at the time of Lion Capital’s acquisition of the company, Weetabix was a leading manufacturer of cereal and cereal-related products under its own brands and private label in the United Kingdom, exporting to more than 80 countries and operating in North America, South Africa, Germany and Spain. The Weetabix brand was one of the most recognisable names in the grocery sector, with some of the highest levels of awareness by any consumer brand in the market. The company maintained the strongest health credentials of any major cereal manufacturer in the U.K. with a portfolio of well-recognised brands that included Weetabix, Oatibix, Minis, Ready brek, Alpen and Weetos. In 2014, Weetabix generated sales of over £490 million.

    Over the course of Lion Capital’s ownership, Weetabix steadily improved its financial performance under a senior management team appointed by Lion. Extensive investment in the company’s brands and a reinvigoration of product innovation led to the launch of several new products, which drove sales growth, whilst improvements in the operations of the company supported profit margins. In late 2012, Lion Capital sold 60% of Weetabix to Bright Food, a multinational food and beverages manufacturing company headquartered in Shanghai, with Lion retaining the remainder of its equity stake in the business. In April 2015, Lion Capital sold its remaining shares in Weetabix to Bright Food.


    Product Innovation

    Lion Capital saw the opportunity to drive growth by Weetabix through new product development especially in the ready-to-eat segment and with on-the-go breakfast solutions, drawing on Weetabix’s reputation for superior product quality and high nutritional profile. Under Lion’s ownership, Weetabix reinvigorated product innovation and brand development activities, launching several new products and range extensions including Weetabix Crispy Minis, Oatibix, Oatiflakes, Alpen Light Bars, Oaty bars and On The Go Breakfast Drink.

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    Operating Improvements

    In addition to the recruitment of a new management team, Lion Capital pursued change in several areas operationally that led to improvements in manufacturing and corporate costs, logistics, and raw material purchasing. Operational improvement plans successfully led to significant cost reduction and simplification of Weetabix’s manufacturing and operational footprint. 

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