L Capital Asia, a private equity arm of leading global luxury goods group LVMH, kickstarted its operations in India by taking a 25.5 per cent stake in Genesis Luxury Fashion Ltd recently. LVMH that owns Louis Vuitton, Pepe Jeans, Tag Heur and Sephora, to name a few, has a strategy for takeovers in the western markets. However, the subsidiary has an investment philosophy to buy, build and exit with a minority position at upcoming companies in the Asian markets. In an interview with Shaikh Zoaib Saleem, L Capital President and Managing Partner Daniel Piette speaks about the strength of the Indian markets. Edited excerpts:
The committee of secretaries in India recently cleared 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail. If the policy is cleared, do you, as an investor, wish to go forward?
Being an investor, this is definitely good news for me. But, we cannot say at this point in time what would our stand on investments in multi-brand retail be. We may or we may not.
There have been fears of a slowdown in India’s economy. Will that have any impact on your investment plans?
In any case, we were convinced that the South Asian markets in general and Indian markets in particular are the strongest. The fears of a slowdown will not impact our investments.
How is LVMH’s strategy different in India from the European Markets?
In European markets, LVMH has a focus on taking over established global brands, whereas in India, L Capital will look forward to join hands with potential Indian brands. Further, we will try to give them a global exposure and recognition.
L Capital has bought a 25.5 per cent stake in Genesis Luxury. Are you looking forward to a buy-out?
We would like to make it clear that we do not intend to takeover this company or any other company. We are here to lend our experience in building global brands to the immensely rich talent and entrepreneurship in India. We will do that by sharing our network, management resources and delivery platforms, among others.
What will be L Capital Asia’s next step in India?
We look forward to four or five more tie-ups in the next 4-5 years. We will move gradually with companies with high potential.