3i supports growth of French ready-to-wear chain Défimode

31 Jan 2006

3i announces today that it is investing approximately € 20m in the French retail chain Défimode. The directors Bernard Montel, Dominique Montel and Bernard Vaissade are retaining the majority of the capital. Boosted by these increased financial resources, Défimode aims to step up the nationwide expansion of its network of stores.

Based in Brioude, Haute-Loire, France, Défimode was founded in 1981 by the Montel brothers and began to grow in 1987. It's 125 stores, with an area of 1,000 m² and owned by the company, offer consumers reasonably priced, quality products for the whole family. What makes Défimode's strategy original is its choice of locations on the edge of small towns with 6,000 to 60,000 inhabitants. Défimode's rapid growth has been facilitated by the skilful promotion of shopping centres in partnership with shoe, toy and homeware brands. Défimode has more than 650 staff and expects to see a sharp rise in sales in 2006 to over €100m.

3i has invested in the company in order to speed up the rate at which new stores are opened.

Dominique Montel comments on the deal: "We chose 3i as a partner because of its financial base and network, which is readily available to our management teams. We also value their great experience in retail and their ability to work with us over the long term."

Denis Ribon, 3i Director: "3i has a particularly deep understanding of the retail sector, as can be seen from its experience with Mr Bricolage, Camaieu and Grand Frais. With this track record, we feel that Défimode is one of those rare clothing brands that can build up a national network in edge-of-town retailing. This is made possible by the original nature of the expansion model and the quality of the teams."

Notes to editors

About3i
3i is a world leader in private equity and venture capital. We focus on buyouts, growth capital and venture capital and invest across Europe, in the Untited States and Asia. 
Our competitive advantage comes from our international network and the strength and breadth of our relationships in business. These underpin the value that we deliver to our portfolio and to our shareholders. In its financial year to 31 March 2005, 3i invested €1.47 billion, of which €738 million was in buyouts, €470 million in growth capital and €261 million in venture capital.

www.3i.com/france