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Reliance Retail Ventures Limited is a subsidiary of the Ambani-owned Reliance Industries. The acquisition of the amanté brand from MAS Holdings is described as a significant foreign investment in a Sri Lankan-owned lingerie business by a retail giant in India.

What does this acquisition mean for the apparel industry

The purchase is said to highlight the continued investment and development of the business both in India and Sri Lanka.

Apparel industry expert and university professor at the University of Delaware, Dr Sheng Lu pointed out: “Because of geographic location, there has been a close tie between the textile and apparel industries in India and Sri Lanka. For example, India currently is the second-largest source of textile raw materials for Sri Lanka (about 23%), after China only (39%). About 36% of Sri Lanka’s textile imports from India were knitted fabrics, followed by woven cotton fabrics (28%).”

He added: “Meanwhile, India has become one of the fastest-growing export markets for garment manufacturers in Sri Lanka. The latest data from UNComtrade shows that from 2015 to 2019, the value of Sri Lanka’s apparel exports to India surged by more than 95%, much higher than 14% to the world. The newest investment by Reliance Retail Ventures Limited reflects the business community’s confidence in expanding the ties between India and Sri Lanka for apparel production, sourcing, and retail sales.”

While apparel industry expert Robert Antoshak told Just Style exclusively: “This is another example of consolidation occurring in the apparel industry as the major players reposition themselves to adjust to a post-pandemic market.”

Why did this acquisition take place?

The sale has been on the cards for a while as in 2018, MAS Holdings completed an assignment with a leading global consultancy to develop a long-term strategic plan for the conglomerate. The assignment identified areas of growth based on its core competencies. The new strategy suggested that MAS source partners for businesses outside of its core competency. The divestiture of amanté was an outcome of this plan with MAS intent on finding the right partner to invest in the business and enable it to grow.

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The amanté business, which was established by MAS in 2007/8, engages in the retail and wholesale distribution of premium lingerie brands amanté, Ultimo and every dé by amanté. The company sells its product through its own stores and multi-brand outlets, as well as through its e-commerce channels across India and Sri Lanka.

“The acquisition by Reliance ensured that amanté would benefit from Reliance’s scale and retail expertise, and that the brand we created and our employees in India and Sri Lanka will continue to benefit from being part of a well-established retail company,” says MAS Holdings chairman Mahesh Amalean.

MAS co-founder Ajay Amalean, who has overseen the amanté business from its inception, adds: “This was a business MAS built from the ground up, leveraging on years of expertise in the lingerie business, so we are excited to see it transition to new shareholders and a parent organisation that, without doubt, will enable the brand and the company to thrive.”

MAS explained that a transaction of this nature and the ability to attract the largest retailer in India during these times of uncertainty is a testament to the strength of the business that MAS and the management team of amanté have built over the past decade.

“At Reliance, we pride ourselves in offering the best and enhancing choices to our customers and we are proud to bring high quality and design-led products by ‘amante’. MAS is a well-recognised product innovator and manufacturer for some of the iconic global brands in this segment, the partnership and collaboration we build together with them will offer Indian customers world-class product quality and greater choices in this segment,” Reliance Retail Ventures Limited director Isha Ambani says.

CEO of MAS Brands Vivek Mehta adds: “The teams at MAS Brands are excited about the new opportunities and prospects that this acquisition brings about, and are anticipating the strategic advantages and new learning that will come from working as part of a retail giant such as Reliance.”

Sri-Lanka-based MAS Holdings manages a portfolio of businesses with a revenue of US$2bn. The company is headquartered in Sri Lanka with 52 manufacturing facilities placed across 16 countries, and more than 100,000 people involved in its operation.

Reliance Retail Ventures Limited, meanwhile, was reported to have a consolidated turnover of $21.6bn and net profit of US$750m for the year ended 31 March 2021.

In August, Just Style reported that MAS Holdings was moving forward with the second phase of its project Photon, which would see it obtain nearly half of its energy requirement from renewable energy sources.