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NEW DELHI : Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd (ABFRL) will sell a 7.5% stake to GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, to raise up to 2,195 crore to expand its presence in the branded apparel market.

The plan, approved by the board of ABFRL, entails GIC making an initial investment of 770 crore to subscribe to equity shares and warrants, followed by up to 1,425 crore in one or more tranches within 18 months.

Once the transaction is complete, Aditya Birla Group will hold a 51.9% stake in ABFRL, the Indian maker of Van Heusen and Allen Solly apparel brands said in a regulatory filing on Tuesday.

ABFRL plans to use the capital to spur growth and focus on emerging high-growth business models.

“The Indian apparel industry is set for robust long-term growth because of strong fundamentals of a large and growing middle class, favourable demographics, rising disposable incomes and aspiration for brands," said Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman, Aditya Birla Group.

An investment of this nature serves to underscore ABFRL’s strong position and dynamic growth model, Birla added.

ABFRL has expanded its footprint across the domestic fashion market through the inorganic and organic route. “This capital infusion will allow the company to accelerate the growth of this platform of strong brands and well-established retail formats in the fast-growing branded apparel market and fortify our position as one of the leading players in the industry," said Ashish Dikshit, managing director, ABFRL.

The investment will help bring the fund’s long-term capital and resources to support ABFRL’s next phase of growth, said Choo Yong Cheen chief investment officer, private equity,GIC.

ABFRL has been expanding its brands portfolio, either by acquiring licences for international brands in India, or investing in homegrown ethnic wear designer labels, which helped the retailer move beyond the formal men’s clothing segment.

In January, the company picked up a 51% stake in House of Masaba Lifestyle Pvt. Ltd, run by Mumbai-based fashion designer Masaba Gupta. Last year, it had signed a long-term licensing agreement to exclusively sell Reebok products in India and other Asean nations. In 2021, it had acquired a 51% stake in luxury designer label Sabyasachi, and followed it up with an investment in fashion label Tarun Tahiliani. In 2019, ABFRL had acquired omni-channel ethnic wear retailer Jaypore for 110 crore.

ABFRL is also looking launch a platform to incubate and acquire new-age online brands across fashion, beauty and other lifestyle segments to focus on digital brands, it said. In a February interview, Dikshit had said the company could invest in and build 30 internet-first brands over 3-5 years.

In the apparel market, ABFRL competes with the likes of Arvind Fashions Ltd and Reliance Retail, as well as fast fashion retailers such as H&M and Zara. In the quarter ended March, the company posted revenues of 2,283 crore with a net profit of 32 crore. It had reported a loss of 196 crore in the year-ago period. ABFRL had a net debt of 504 crore for the three months ended March.

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