Unity Brands was a market leading designer and manufacturer of larger-cup sized lingerie and swimwear in the UK. Its brands included Fantasie, Freya and Rigby & Peller.
Alcuin invested in 1997, backing the management team led by the CEO and Founder Tony Thwaites to buy out an earlier financial investor. The company’s growth accelerated over the next decade of Alcuin’s involvement – with the launch of a brand aimed at younger consumers, increased promotion of the concept of properly fitting underwear, and the acquisitions of the USA brand Goddess and the French swimwear brand Huit. Sales grew from £10 million in 1997 to £43 million in 2005 and profits grew at more than 35% per annum.
Alcuin sold its minority stake back to management in 2005 realising a return of over 5x ROC and in 2011 the business was sold to the leading Japanese lingerie producer Wacoal, after growing sales to £80 million and increasing exports to more than 60% of sales.