CDIB Capital invests in Samara-backed duty free shop operator Flemingo

CDIB Capital International Corporation has closed an investment in Dubai-based Flemingo International (BVI) Ltd, a travel retail player focused on emerging markets. The deal size was not disclosed. CDIB Capital typically invests $20 million to $75 million in a deal.

The new round of investment comes two months after the company raised $30 million from a fund managed by Albright Capital Management, an emerging markets PE firm chaired by former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

According to a source familiar with the development, the transaction involves a fresh infusion of capital into the company. Samara Capital, a mid-market focused fund which backed the company in 2008, remains a shareholder in the company.

This is not the first investment by CDIB Capital in an India related company. The overseas investment arm of China Development Financial Holding Corporation is currently an investor in non-banking financial services firm IndoStar Capital and internet service provider Tikona Digital.

Flemingo recently set up a new structure under which Flemingo International (BVI) has become the holding company of the group, with Flemingo Dutyfree Shop Private Ltd and Flemingo International (Mauritius) as its main subsidiaries. While Flemingo Dutyfree Shop runs operations in India, Poland, Sri Lanka, Dubai, Turkey and Kenya, the rest of Africa business comes under Flemingo International.

Samara Capital had invested Rs 50 crore in the India business of Flemingo. Most of that money went to Flemingo Dutyfree Shop. Sumeet Narang, founder of Samara Capital, currently sits on the board of Flemingo International (BVI).

According to a reported in trade journal Moodie Report, Flemingo hired new finance head Raj Shah and is looking at a public listing in US. The company is targeting revenues of $2 billion by 2020.

Flemingo is largest duty free shop operator in India with operations in 12 out of the 18 international airports in the country. It also has joint venture with Hong Kong-based DFS Group to operate the duty free concession shops at Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.

Flemingo operates across a wide range of duty-free formats including airports, seaports, borders, downtown, in-flight, diplomatic commissaries, luxury retail, travel essentials and F&B outlets.

Flemingo has presence in over 120 duty free retail outlets across 25 countries in Asia, Africa and Europe. The company has expanded into international markets like Poland, Romania, Cape Verde, Nepal, Ukraine and Turkey aggressively through acquisitions in the last four years.

“Flemingo has successfully established itself as the leading franchise in the emerging markets duty-free industry through impressive organic growth as well as well-targeted acquisitions,” said Lionel de Saint-Exupery, President and CEO of CDIB Capital.

(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)

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