A 1.3 Billion Euro Deal: Shandong Ruyi Group Completes Its Acquisition of A Controlling Stake in SMCP, Parent Company of Sandro
This Tuesday, Shandong Ruyi Group completed its acquisition of a controlling stake in SMCP, the French firm behind Parisian fashion brands Sandro and Maje, for about 1.3 billion Euros (including debt), according to source close to the deal. The acquisition will facilitate the brands to expand business in Asia markets. It marks yet another major M&A deal completed by the financially strong Chinese enterprises.
Headquartered in Paris, France, SMCP is valued at over 1 billion USD. Evelyne Chetrite and Judith Milgrom founded Sandro and Claudie Pierlot in 1984, and later Maje in 1998.
The leading global investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts&Co. (herein referred to as KKR) acquired a majority stake of Group SMCP in 2013. This acquisition will result in Shandong Ruyi Group holding a controlling stake in SMCP, while KKR would retain a minority interest in the group instead of its original 70% equity.
Shandong Ruyi Group intends to invest in Sandro, Maje and Claudie Pierlot with the ambition to drive further growth and development, especially in Asia. Furthermore, SMCP's design and creative teams will continue to operate from its headquarters in Paris. SMCP would retain its current strategy and organizational structure.
Since the news release of the intended acquisition in March and April, SMCP has experienced revenue growth of 19.2% for the first half of this year, especially significant increase from China. The SMCP business in France also started to recover and grow.
Sandro, Maje and Claudie Pierlot, which sell dresses priced at around 200 Euros (about 1426.44 yuan), operate in the so-called accessible segment of the luxury market, enjoying solid demand among fast-growing middle classes, particularly in countries such as China. Sales in China accounts for 10% of the group total.
As SMCP seeks global development, over half of its sales growth in the first half of this year came from regions other than France. As of June 30th, SMCP operates 1,176 point of sales in 35 countries, of which 58 are placed in 14 locations in the Chinese mainland. The group intends to further grow its global presence with plans of opening 80 to 100 new stores in 2016.
Daniel Lalonde, President and CEO of SMCP, also explained earlier that the group would continue its global expansion into Europe, North America, Middle East and especially Asia. He sees great potential for growth in the Chinese market as the number of middle class families in the country is expected to grow from 33 million to 85 million from 2011 to 2020, new target customers of the group.
Yafu QIU, Chairman of Shandong Ruyi Group, noted that this acquisition would be a significant step for Shandong Ruyi Group in their continued endeavor to become a leader in the fully-integrated textiles and fashion business both in China and globally. He looks forward to supporting SMCP in achieving its long-term objective of becoming a global leader in accessible luxury.
It is not uncommon for Shandong Ruyi Group to acquire fashion brands from a relatively weaker market. As early as July 2010, Shandong Ruyi Science & Technology Group Co., subsidiary of the Shandong Ruyi Group has acquired the Japanese apparel maker Renown Inc. through directional add-issuance to become its largest shareholder.
Established in 1902, RENOWN owns a number of fashion brands and is one of Japan's most well-known listed companies. Due to the sluggish Japanese economy, RENOWN is struggling with its business in recent years. Investment from Ruyi Group would help boost its financial situations and prepare for expansion into markets in Asia, in particular China.
According to Yafu QIU, Ruyi Group would be able to establish a "4 in 1" strategy with addition of RENOWN from Japan, acquisition of another leading brand in Europe, the huge Chinese market and Ruyi's manufacturing expertise. He believed that "all the efforts would contribute to the strategic transformation of the company".
Due to operational issues, the struggling "JUDGER" brand under JUDGER Group has been acquired by Ruyi Group in August 2013. After the acquisition, Ruyi Group invested to restructure "JUDGER" into Wenzhou JUDGER Apparel Co., Ltd. With new product positioning, the brand inherits the traditional, exquisite and quality suit design while at the same time adopting fashionable and stylish elements to establish itself in the fashion industry for further development.
Shandong Ruyi Group is one of the largest textile manufacturers in the world. Its frequent acquisition of apparel brands indicates an ambition of expanding into brand and marketing section in the downstream of industry chain development. The company continues down the path towards "becoming a leader in the fully-integrated textiles and fashion business both in China and globally".
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