3i Group Invests In Óticas Carol, Brazilian Eyewear Retailer
SAO PAULO—A consortium led by
3i Group PLC an international investor, has agreed to acquire
Óticas Carol (OC), the second largest eyewear retailer in Brazil, from Brazilian entrepreneur Marcos Amaro. As part of the transaction, OC CEO Ronaldo Pereira will significantly increase his equity stake in the company. Institutional investors Neuberger Berman and Siguler Guff are co-investing alongside 3i in the transaction, which is expected to close by the end of March. The combined equity investment amounts to R$108 million (£36.4m), a statement said.
Established in 1997, OC sells a broad range of prescription glasses, sunglasses and related eyewear accessories. The OC retail network is comprised of 490 stores across 19 states in 235 cities, including São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The OC franchising model has attracted optical retailers thanks to the strength of its brand, its strong relationships with suppliers and its dedicated laboratory offering which provides access to an exclusive range of high-quality, own-label lenses, the statement noted.
3i's investment will support the OC management team's plan to expand its store network throughout Brazil. In addition, 3i said it will work closely with management as an active partner, providing retail sector expertise and international best practice in strategy, operations and governance.
Simon Borrows, chief executive of 3i Group commented: "We continue to see attractive investment opportunities in Brazil and are delighted to be making our second Brazilian investment in a strong business like Óticas Carol alongside Neuberger Berman and Siguler Guff, our two co-investors."
Marcelo Di Lorenzo, partner, managing director and Head of 3i Brazil said, "Óticas Carol is uniquely positioned in the Brazilian eyewear market. Its differentiated business model will enable the company to expand rapidly across the country. We look forward to working with the management team to continue the company's growth strategy in the coming years."
Ronaldo Pereira, OC's CEO, added: "With 3i's support, global expertise and strong local presence, we will significantly increase the pace of expansion of our stores, further strengthen our business proposition to franchisees and attract leading local chains to join our brand. We aim to become the undisputed leader in the Brazilian optical retail space. Our team would like to thank Marcos Amaro for his vision and support during all these years, which were fundamental in transforming us into one of the leading optical retail brands in Brazil."
"On behalf of our clients, we are very pleased to partner with 3i in this acquisition in the Brazilian middle market. We see a strong opportunity for OC to continue to expand its store base, consolidate a highly fragmented sector and further strengthen its operations," said Joana Rocha Scaff, managing director of
Neuberger Berman Alternatives.
"OC fits perfectly into Siguler Guff's Emerging Markets investment strategy which focuses on opportunities generated from middle class per capita income growth and increasing consumption. As we have seen in other consumer sectors in Brazil and in more developed markets, we believe that OC is an ideal candidate to lead the consolidation of Brazil's fragmented eyewear market. After successfully co-investing with 3i in Blue Interactive, we look forward to working
together to position OC to take advantage of continued growth in the eyewear market," added Cesar
Collier, managing director and head of Siguler Guff's São Paulo office.
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