NEW DELHI — Making their first move into fashion retail in India, U.S. private equity firm Warburg Pincus has revealed an investment in Biba Apparels Pvt. Ltd., an ethnicwear retail company.
Biba, which is unrelated to the U.K. brand of the same name, already has more than 330 doors across India and is expected to open 200 more stores over the next three to four years following the investment of 3 billion rupees, or $50 million at current exchange, that has been made jointly by Warburg Pincus and Faering Capital.
“Over the last two decades, Biba has built a leading women’s ethnicwear brand in an industry that continues to demonstrate positive growth trends,” said Vishal Mahadevia, managing director and cohead of the India division of Warburg Pincus. Over the past decade, affiliates of private equity funds raised by Warburg Pincus have invested about $3 billion in Indian companies which include HDFC Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Ambuja Cements.
The new shareholders in Biba replace an earlier investor, the retail powered Future Group. “India is just witnessing the emergence of large fashion brands and we are quite sure Biba will play a major role in this journey in the years to come,” Kishore Biyani, group chief operating officer of Future Group.
Biba came up with a shop-in-shop format in the late Nineties. “Biba has built a fantastic market-leading brand and a high-quality organization that is poised to further capitalize on the growth of branded women-girls’ ethnicwear in the country,” said Sameer Shroff, Faering Capital’s managing director and cofounder. Faering Capital is a boutique Indian asset management firm that manages an 8.6 billion rupee, or $141 million, domestic private equity fund.
Biba has a growth path charted out which, in addition to more points of sale and its own stores, includes emerging as a “fashion house catering to requirements of women and girls across income levels, in India and abroad.” It will also look at more joint ventures with well-known designers growing both the premium segment as well as enhancing lower-price-point categories. The name itself, Biba, in Punjabi is often used as a term of endearment for a favorite or a loved one.