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Indivision to buy over 22% in VLCC for Rs 46 cr

MUMBAI: Indivision, a private equity fund promoted by Future Capital, the financial services arm of Future Group (Pantaloon Retail) is picking up over 22% stake in fitness, beauty and health firm Vandana Luthra Curls and Curves (VLCC) for an undisclosed amount.

Earlier, VLCC received $10 m (Rs 46 crore) as investment from a fund managed by the Hong Kong-based CLSA Private Equity to finance business expansions.

Sameer Sain, managing director and CEO of Future Capital confirmed the deal and said the move is part of the fund’s strategy to invest in the booming health and wellness space. “We are backing enterpreneurs with similar growth visions” he said. The Indian health and wellness market estimated at Rs 2000 crore is growing at over 25%.

The investment proceeds would be used to fund expansion of new VLCC centres, and in developing the company’s subsidiary VLCC Personal Care. This 17 year old beauty service business, founded by Vandana Luthra currently spans across nearly 100 locations in 48 cities across India and 5 locations in UAE.

The company has also set competitive growth targets this year. By 2008, VLCC plans to expand to 300 weight-management, beauty and fitness centres in India, and VLCC International will spread to an additional five countries and 28 centres in the Middle East, including Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, said officials. VLCC, a ‘super brand,’ serves as an umbrella for its other brands — VLCC Health Care, VLCC Personal Care, VLCC Workout Factory, VLCC Spa, VLCC Institute, VLCC Alive, VLCC Beauty Zone and VLCC Foundation.

Indivision’s investment in VLCC reflects the growing interest among private equity funds for Indian companies which have a direct interface with the consumer. Some of the new targets and focus areas of private equity funds are hotel companies, restaurants, spas, ayurvedic and herbal skin, slimming and beauty centres which are primarily consumer-oriented sectors. Most of the companies are using the funds to expand in the overseas market and scale up nationally, say industry sources.

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