Home Estate Planning The Very Group: Barclay family-owned retail giant welcomes £125m injection as it falls to half-year loss

The Very Group: Barclay family-owned retail giant welcomes £125m injection as it falls to half-year loss

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The Very Group, the retail giant owned by the billionaire Barclay family, has secured a £125m investment as it fell to a half-year loss.

The Merseyside-headquartered company has received around £85m from global investment firm Carlyle while the rest has been provided by IMI to “support its growth strategy”.

As part of the agreement, Carlyle and IMI will each take a seat on the group’s board.

The Very Group, which includes Littlewoods, has been owned by the Barclay family for more than 20 years.

The investment announcement has been made at the same time The Very Group posted its half-year results for the six months to December 30, 2023.

The group’s revenue went from £1.219bn to £1.226bn while it went from making a pre-tax profit of £2.1m to a loss of £2m.

In the UK, The Very Group’s revenue increased from £1.029bn to £1.058bn but Littlewoods’ sales fell from £147.3m to £128.9m. Very Ireland’s revenue decreased from £42m to £39.6m.

Very Finance revenue increased 2.7 per cent to £216.4m, supported by average group debtor book growth of 3.1 per cent and Very UK debtor book growth of 5.5 per cent.

The group also confirmed that following two years in the role and having reached the end of his contract term, Dirk Van den Berghe has stepped down as bon-executive chair “to focus on his other non-executive roles as well as new opportunities”.

The Very Group said that a search for his successor “is underway and well advanced”.

In the meantime, as a representative of the Barclay family in The Very Group, Aidan Barclay will assume the role until an appointment has been made.

Aidan Barclay said: “Carlyle and IMI provide the support of two long-term, experienced institutional sponsors that understand our business extremely well.

“Their commitment underlines the confidence they have in the group, and their contribution to the board will be invaluable as we look to the future.

“I would like to thank Dirk Van den Berghe for his stewardship during his time as chair and wish him all the best in his future endeavours.”

Taj Sidhu, head of European and Asian private credit at Carlyle, added: “We are delighted to expand our relationship with The Very Group and, alongside IMI, support an important phase of growth for the company.

“We believe the group has a compelling and resilient business model and is well positioned for further growth in the coming years and we look forward to working closely with them.”

Rani R. Raad, CEO of IMI, said: “We are very pleased to partner with The Very Group as it embarks on its next phase of growth. Together with Carlyle, we look forward to working closely with them as they deliver against their strategic objectives and growth ambitions.”

The half-year results for The Very Group come after its profits tumbled by more than 90 per cent during the 12 months to July 1, 2023.

The Speke-headquartered company posted pre-tax profits of £4.6m, down from £63.9m, while its revenue remained static at £2.1bn.

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