WestBridge bets on footwear maker Relaxo

Public markets-focused private equity firm WestBridge Capital Partners has added Relaxo Footwears Ltd as its third new portfolio company this year. The PE firm picked around 1.5 per cent stake in the listed footwear maker for close to Rs 80 crore ($12 million) through a secondary market transaction on Monday, stock market data show.

WestBridge invests through both direct secondary market purchases and negotiated preferential allotment deals.

A spokesperson for the PE firm declined to comment on the development.

Delhi-based Relaxo Footwears offers products such as slipper, canvas shoe, rubber flip flop, EVA injected flip flop, PVC DIP shoe, sport shoes, sandals and PVC DIP casual under the brand names Hawaii,  Schoolmate, Sparx, Elena, Casualz, Mary Jane and Boston.

The four-decade-old company has doubled its revenues between FY11 and FY15 to Rs 1,480.8 crore with net profit rising four times to cross Rs 100 crore in the same period.

Relaxo saw its share price shooting up over 70 per cent to hit a high of Rs 590 between April and August 2015, defying the poor investor sentiment in the broader stock market. It gave up almost all of the gains by end of March 2016 only to see the share price spike 50 per cent over the last two days.

For WestBridge, which topped up its evergreen fund boosting its size by over two-thirds to take the overall investment corpus to $1.4 billion a few months ago, this is the third new addition to its portfolio since January. It has also invested in private tech firm Indiamart and NYSE-listed Videocon D2H.

In the footwear space, Reliance PE had struck a deal in 2013 when it invested in Khadim's. In another recent deals, women's footwear maker Catwalk Worldwide Pvt Ltd roped in a larger industry peer as a strategic investor, almost three years after it kicked off a fundraising plan and held talks with a string of multinational shoe firms and private equity investors.

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