Gulf Capital and NBK Capital Partners exit Jordan’s Classic Fashion

Apparel exporter's revenue grew from $450m in 2017 to $600m last year, backers say

Karim El Solh, chief executive of Gulf Capital. The company manages more than $2.5 billion in assets across seven funds and investment vehicles. Satish Kumar/ For the National
Karim El Solh, chief executive of Gulf Capital. The company manages more than $2.5 billion in assets across seven funds and investment vehicles. Satish Kumar/ For the National

Abu Dhabi-based private equity firm Gulf Capital and Dubai-based NBK Capital Partners have exited their investment in Jordan’s Classic Fashion Apparel Industry after a global bank provided a new facility to the company to help it refinance its debt and fuel further expansion. The companies did not disclose the amounts received or the return made on their investment.

The two investors took stakes in the garment manufacturer three years ago to support a refinancing and boost production. During that period, Classic Fashion grew revenues to more than $600m in 2020 from $450 million in 2017.

“Our investment in Classic Fashion demonstrates our ability to provide flexible growth capital to support the ambitious growth of market leaders across the Middle East,” Karim El Solh, chief executive at Gulf Capital, said.

“It was structured in a real win-win spirit, in that Classic accelerated its growth with our funding, while our investors realised a strong return and a quick distribution. This exit is Gulf Capital’s third in 2021 and helps cement our track record of strong distributions to our growth capital investors.”

Founded in 2003 by Sanal Kumar, Classic Fashion accounts for a 30 per cent share of Jordan’s apparel exports and has a strong relationship with global retail companies including Walmart, Under Armour, Adidas, American Eagle, JC Penney, among others. It employs more than 27,000 people.

“Our partnership with Gulf Capital and NBK Capital Partners gave us access to growth capital at a critical juncture, which enabled us to grow our capacity, meet the demands of our international clients and increase our contribution to the Jordanian economy,” Mr Kumar said.

Gulf Capital, which manages more than $2.5 billion in assets across seven funds and investment vehicles, also exited its investment in the Middle East and Africa energy services contractor Egyptian Chinese Drilling Company in March and sold its 70 per cent stake in Turkish broadband provider Turknet in February.

The company invests in asset classes including private equity, private debt and real estate. It is planning to launch a $750m fund next year to invest in sectors such as technology, healthcare and health technology, Mr El Solh told The National in an interview earlier this year.

NBK Capital Partners is an alternative asset manager owned by National Bank of Kuwait. The company has offices in Dubai, Istanbul, Kuwait City and Manama and has advised on 36 investments with a value of more than $1.2bn since it was established in 2005.

Published: May 18, 2021 04:50 PM

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