York Sells Minority Interest to Others, Including Outside Saudi Investors for Undisclosed Price; Kalwani Family Still Controls

by Fabrics & Furnishings

August 7th, 2017

DUBAI, UAE ­— York Furnishings, considered an important wholesaler and importer of better furnishing fabrics in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has sold a minority stake to outside investors.

“We would like to officially inform F&FI that we now have strategic equity partners in our business,” says Avinash Kalwani, second generation owner and CEO of York Furnishings.

“There are clear expansion plans in the GCC and potential global markets,” he says.

Kenny and Avinash Kalwani

The new partners are Havenvest Private Equity Middle (HPEME) established in 2013 as HSBC Private Equity Middle East Ltd. Havenvest made several investments across three funds in companies based in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and the UAE according to Avinash.

The second shareholder is Rimco Investment Company LLC based in Dubai, a subsidiary of the Rashed Al Rashed Group (RAR). This company has been active in Saudi for more than 50 years.

“York is the culmination of its founder’s vision, Kenny Kalwani, who spotted an opportunity in the furnishings space and made his foray in this sector by moving to Dubai from India in 1987,” Avinash explains.

York was established in 1988 and Avinash’s father has led the company to become one of the largest players in the MENA region.

York says it offered a large minority ownership last year to new shareholders following a strategic review of its expansion and growth plans. These new shareholders represent a leading Private Equity firm in the MENA region and also a renowned well established Saudi conglomerate.

“We have had a long preparation time for this and all actions will continue in alignment of the shareholders,” Kenny says.

“York will continue to blossom and grow in the existing MENA markets, but we will now have a strong presence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. York already had  three regional offices in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam which act as distribution centers. The new investors will give York a stronger presence in Saudi, Avinash feels.

This was being facilitated by the induction of the new shareholders.”

“While the management and business control remains with the founder shareholders, the new shareholders will bring in significant expertise in corporate business processes, systems and governance,” he says.

“The business has a strong future and is well positioned to capitalize on the industry consolidation,” he feels.

“This is another step in our Group strategy to focus on our larger businesses and geographies beyond the MENA region

Avinash adds to his father’s comments.

“We are proud to have a strong team of shareholders and under the guidance of the Board of Directors, we look forward to building on the foundation of the York businesses, product innovation capabilities, valued customer relationships and skilled workforce and to support existing management in its global growth.”

Avinash also says that York is the first and only private family business in furnishings in the MENA region to attract Private Equity investors. Further he adds that York is the only fully ISO certified furnishing business in the MENA region.