Lighthouse India Fund III Limited has acquired a minority stake in Aqualite Industries, one of India's leading footwear companies. An affiliate of Lighthouse Advisors, which is a consumer-focused private equity manager, Lighthouse has invested over Rs 250 crore to acquire the stake, according to a statement. Ernst & Young acted as the sole financial advisor for the fund raise.
In a statement, Davinder Gupta, Founder, Aqualite Industries, said, “We are very excited to partner with Lighthouse, given their impressive track record of investments in over 25 brands. We look forward to their support and guidance for our next leg of growth. We plan to utilise the capital for marketing, capacity expansion and growth plans..”
The 30-year-old company offers more than 6,500 units in hawai, non-hawai and shoe categories. The products are sold under several sub-brands under the company. It operates through manufacturing units located across Haryana and Rajasthan, and boasts a pan-India distribution network of 35,000 retailers, with significant presence in north and east India. It is expecting a turnover of over Rs 800 crore in the current financial year.
On the investment, Sachin Bhartiya, Partner, Lighthouse, said, “We strongly believe in the growth story of footwear in India, with the current under-penetration (per capita spend of only 1.8 pairs p.a. vs 3.1 in China) and consumer preference shift towards branded wear. We are excited to work with Aqualite as it has achieved scale in the footwear industry on the back of product quality and relationship with channel partners.”
Lighthouse is a mid-market private equity firm focused on growth investments in India's consumer sector. So far, it has backed marquee consumer-centric brands such as Bikaji Foods, an ethnic snack food player, Kama Ayurveda, a luxury premium ayurvedic personal care brand, FabIndia, an ethnic lifestyle brand, and Cera, a leading sanitary ware brand.
In the current year, Aqualite marks the fourth investment for Lighthouse. It has already invested in Duroflex, Nykaa, and Tynor Orthotics. Its other portfolio companies include laminates maker Stylam Industries, QSR chain Wow! Momo and value retailer V2 Retail.