FTI Consulting to oversee sale of swimwear brand Seafolly

08 May 2023 Consultancy.com.au 3 min. read

After overcoming a Covid-19-related administration in 2020, iconic Australian swimwear brand Seafolly has been put up for sale by owner L Catterton, with FTI Consulting brought in to oversee the process.

Many senior and aspiring management consultants cite the diversity of company engagements as a major motivation for entering the profession, but this would seem especially the case for restructuring and insolvency specialists who are less likely to focus on a specific sector.

For example, the team at FTI Consulting in recent months has overseen the administration of a massive solar project, a craft beer brewery, and an independent cinema chain.

FTI Consulting to oversee sale of swimwear brand Seafolly

Now the consultancy’s advisors will have a new entry on their resumes; bikini sales, with the firm called in to take iconic Australian women’s swimwear label Seafolly to market.

Founded in 1975 by Peter and Yvonne Halas (under the original name ‘Peter’s Folly), the brand has been majority owned by LVMH and Bernard Arnault-backed private equity by firm L Catterton since 2014, despite going into Covid-19 related administration three years ago.

According to accounts lodged at the time, Seafolly lost more than $90 million over the 2019/20 financial year, with L Catterton citing the crippling financial impact of the pandemic for the company entering voluntary administration via KordaMentha. The private equity firm however came out of the process as the preferred bidder, and now says the company is looking at $90 million in revenues this year on the back of resurgent double-digit growth.

With Seafolly accounting for practically a third of Australia’s entire women’s swimwear market, sales forecasts are even rosier, expected to rise by almost 45 percent to $130 million over the next three years. While more than half of the company’s sales originate in Australia and New Zealand, Seafolly has still made inroads into lucrative overseas fashion markets, with more than a third of its take deriving from Europe, the Middle East and the United States.

Seafolly’s overseas expansion has been supported by a number of campaigns featuring high-profile international models and ambassadors, including Martha Hunt, Marloes Horst, and Gigi Hadid, yet the sales pitch is pushing the brand’s iconic Australian status while the company’s short term strategy remains focused on “growing market share within key wholesale accounts, driving e-commerce platforms, and optimising our retail footprint.”

According to the Australian Financial Review, a first round of bids has already been received with a second round to close in June, with ACTA Capital – which has an interest in Mosaic’s portfolio of brands such as Noni B, Rockmans, and Rivers – reported elsewhere to be one potentially interested party. Others however including Anchorage Capital Partners have supposedly ruled themselves out, with questions raised about future growth potential.