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Business News

Filofax close to being sold


Filofax, the maker of the leather personal organisers associated with Yuppies in the 1980s, is close to being sold to an unnamed party. 

The UK-based company's private equity owners put the business up for sale recently by hiring advisers at KPMG and a deal is thought to be imminent.

Filofax has faced brutal competition in recent years from the soaring use of tablets and smart phones but it still delivered global profits of £3.4m in 2011, according to its latest accounts.

The private-equity firm Phoenix acquired Letts Filofax in a deal that valued the business at about £50m in 2006, in partnership with the company's management team. Letts, the maker of desk and pocket diaries, had bought Filofax for £17m in 2001.

The name originates from an abbreviation of "file of facts" and Filofax sells its personal organisers in 15 countries from Japan to France.

Filofax delivered sales down by 6.4 per cent to £18.8m over the year to 31 January 2012. According to its annual report, Filofax said: "The main problem areas were in the UK, Japan, Australia and Greece. Growth was generated in Russia, Switzerland and Singapore. Sales of wallets, leather goods and bags declined with conference folders growing."

The company added: "Margins came under pressure with costs of raw materials increasing by around 5 per cent."

Investors paid themselves a total dividend of £15m in 2010.

All parties declined to comment.