Private equity fund buys into Romanian online retailer Elefant


Romanian online retailer Elefant has recently completed a new financing round worth EUR 5.5 million.

The company has thus managed to draw a new investor, private equity fund Emerging Europe Accession Fund (EEAF), which is managed by Axxess Capital. The fund will hold a minority stake in the company. The fund Catalyst Romania, which bought a minority stake in Elefant in 2014, also participated in the capital increase.

The deal needs to receive the approval of the Competition Council. The investment should help the company boost its current growth pace, which is over 50% per year. In 2015, Eletant Online had sales of EUR 17.4 million, according to official data from the Finance Ministry.

Investment fund Fribourg Capital, controlled by former Moldovan PM Ion Sturza, is the majority shareholder in the retailer. Other shareholders include the funds Catalyst Romania, advised by 3TS Capital Partners, and EEAF.

Elefant was launched as an online bookstore in 2010, but it later developed new business lines and started selling watches, perfumes, handbags, toys, and other products.

The retailer has also opened 18 delivery points in six counties in the country and has also expanded to the Republic of Moldova.

Elefant’s biggest local competitor is eMAG, which is controlled by South-African investment fund Naspers.

Axxess Capital is one of the top private equity investors in Romania. The company’s funds own stakes in several big Romanian companies, such as IT security provider Bitdefender, local lender Nextebank, paint producer Deutek, IT services firm Star Storage, and toy retailer Noriel. The company is managed by Horia Manda.