HERALD SUN

Fashion brands Fiorelli, Review and Capelle have been snapped up by the PAS group, an apparel wholesaler backed by Deutsche bank’s private equity arm.

The PAS Group chief executive Eric Morris said yesterday the businesses provided excellent opportunities for further growth and a base to build synergies across the company’s portfolio.

“They have established themselves as dominant brands in their respective markets, which makes them an ideal fit with our business strategy,” Mr Morris said.

The unlisted PAS Group was set up about two years ago by DB Capital Partners, the private equity arm of Deutsche Asset Management. It already owns Yarra Trail, Designworks, Breakaway and the Hopkins Group, who brands are sold through Myer and David Jones, along with more than 1800 retail outlets.

Mr Morris said the company would work with current management to ensure their continued success.

“We see tremendous opportunities for Capelle to produce product potentially for brands within the PAS Group stable,” he said.

The Melbourne-based Capelle wholesales items such as handbags, belts, footwear, supplied or licensed under brands such as Annapelle, JAG and Diana Ferrari.

Review, also Melbourne-based, is a women’s’ clothing chain targeting the 18 to 35-year old bracket, while Fiorelli makes handbags, shoes, eyewear and watches, operating more than 500 retail outlets around Australia. Mr Morris said the group continued to look for further acquisition opportunities.

“We will continue to look to suitable businesses as we seek to identify opportunities for growth,” he said.

DB Capital Partners said it was attracted to the apparel sector because of its “high earnings to operating cash flow conversion, the primarily ‘made to order’ nature of the businesses acquired, and the high industry fragmentation.”

National Australia Bank will provide 50/50 debt funding on the deal with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.