Australia's BLK sport apparel business, which supplies gear to the Silver Ferns netball team and the Canterbury rugby union team, has been bought from receivers by a private consortium of Timor-Leste and Fiji-based investors.
The consortium led by Esperança Timor Oan (ETO), a Timor-Leste based oil and energy company, acquired the BLK business, brand and associated sub-brands from the World Rugby Specialists (WRS) for an undisclosed sum.
ETO executive director Nilton Gusmão dos Santos said the acquisition was in line with the company's plans to expand beyond the energy sector and would enable the BLK recognised brands to be separated from the financial troubles of WRS, which was placed into administration in November last year.
dos Santos said the BLK business would be housed within a new company, BLK International.
BLK International will retain the existing BLK business executive team and senior management, including Tyron Brant, chief executive of BLK since 2014.
The business, which until 2011 traded as KooGa, makes and supplies team wear and ancillary sportswear for sporting clubs and fans worldwide, including player kits for top-tier rugby union, rugby league, soccer and netball franchises.
The business is one of Australia's dominant apparel suppliers to grassroots sport, with distributors in 14 countries and more than 10,000 teams globally wearing BLK.
Brant said that despite WRS being placed into administration, the BLK business had retained its customer base, as well as jersey supply contracts with all four of its Australian and South African Super Rugby clubs, UK's Saracens and Ospreys rugby clubs, Ireland's Connacht Rugby, Stade Toulousa in in France, Ricoh Black Rams in Japan.
He said the major loss to the BLK business had been its supply contracts to four AFL teams and the Gold Coast Titans in the NRL.
"Despite the clubs terminating their arrangements with BLK, BLK International is confident that it will be able to replace that lost business over the medium term once it has rebuilt confidence in the brand," Brant said.