Lucio Ranaudo, Bridgepoint

Lucio Ranaudo, Bridgepoint

La Gardenia, Italy’s second retail chain in the in the high end Italian perfumery market (161 stores and 822 employees), has been acquired by European private equity fund Bridgepoint from its previous owners, L Capital - the private equity arm of French luxury group LVMH - and Ergon Capital. Financial details of this off market transaction have not been disclosed.

Bridgepoint is not a new comer in this sector as another of its funds already controls shares of Limoni, Italy’s leading perfumes and cosmetics selective retailer. From 2002 to 2005, the fund also developed French perfumery chain Nocibé.

Bridgepoint’s new acquisition could mark a step further towards increased concentration in the Italian market. Commenting on the acquisition, Bridgepoint partner Lucio Ranaudo, said: “La Gardenia is a sizeable nationwide operator in Italy in a large and highly fragmented market that is ripe for consolidation. The business, with its reputation for excellent customer service, is well positioned to take market share from independents, is already among the leaders in the strategically important shopping mall segment and can now look to our input to exploit is potential further.

Bridgepoint also believes that there is further potential at La Gardenia for best practice operational improvement such as the introduction of private label.

The Italian perfumes and cosmetics market is the third largest in Europe and is estimated to be worth over 9 billion euros per annum and where average per capita spend is 157 euros. From 2006 to 2011, La Gardenia doubled its share of the market, said Bridgepoint.