Vlisco Group

Vlisco Group Image


West Africa


Sub-Saharan Africa

Deal type

Management buy-in

Investment date


Status date


Fashioning a success story

Traditionally, in Africa, an individual could be identified by the fabric they wore. The colour of the cloth, the patterns on it, the draping style – one look and it was possible to tell where someone lived, which tribe they belonged to, their social standing and spiritual leanings. Fabric has long been woven into African culture, with the earliest surviving African cloth fragments dating as far back as the ninth century BC.

It was against this rich history that, in September 2010, Actis announced its US$151m buy-out of 100% of the Vlisco Group, a 164-year-old fabric business. The Vlisco Group is a market leader in ethnic fabric manufacturing with a portfolio of brands in Africa including Vlisco, Woodin, Uniwax and GTP. The company designs, manufactures and distributes 51 million yards of branded fabric a year, primarily in West and Central Africa. It employs over 2,100 people, 1,500 of whom are based in West Africa.

For Actis, this offered a unique opportunity to invest in a brand-oriented company targeting the growing consumer classes. The Vlisco Group is well known for its quality products, original design and cultural association with the image of modern West Africa. Actis’s brand-oriented growth strategy will help the company take further advantage of Africa’s growing middle class consumer base.