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Shandong Ruyi furthers global dreams with Bally buy

By Zhu Wenqian in Beijing and Ju Chuanjiang in Jinan | China Daily | Updated: 2018-02-14 10:06

A shop assistant adjusts a set of Bally handbags, produced by the Swiss luxury brand, in its store in Davos, Switzerland. [Photo/Agencies]

Textile manufacturer Shandong Ruyi International Fashion Industry Investment Holding Co, the LVMH of China, has stepped up its global acquisitions with the purchase of Swiss luxury clothing brand Bally International AG.

Mergers and acquisitions, especially of international companies, by Chinese clothing firms have taken off recently after the industry started contemplating new growth options as part of an industrial upgrade.

Shenzhen-listed Shandong Ruyi said on Friday that it will buy a controlling stake in Bally from its parent JAB Holding Co. JAB will retain a minority stake in the company and the present management team of Bally will retain their positions, it said in a regulatory filing.

Though detailed financial transactions of the deal were not disclosed, it is reported that the valuation of Bally by Shandong Ruyi was around $700 million. But what made the Bally acquisition interesting was that it was at the center of a bidding war between Chinese companies.

Potential suitors for Bally included Chinese menswear maker Fujian Septwolves Industry Co Ltd, Chinese conglomerate Fosun International Ltd and Japanese company Itochu Corp, according to a report in the 21st Century Business Herald.

Qiu Yafu, chairman and the largest shareholder of Shandong Ruyi, said the acquisition of Bally, which makes clothing, shoes and accessories, can supplement the downstream garment business of the company.

Founded in 2001, Shandong Ruyi has most of its business concentrated in the upstream of the clothing industrial chain, including the supply of raw materials, yarn, fabric, and dyeing, weaving, sewing and production. It is among the top 20 luxury fashion groups globally in terms of revenues.

Frederic de Narp, CEO of Bally, said the brand will implement the same development strategies after the acquisition, and in the long term, it aims to achieve sales revenue of $1 billion annually. He said Shandong Ruyi will help Bally to expand its presence and drive its sales performance in Asia and other key markets.

In November, Shandong Ruyi bought a 51.38 percent stake in Hong Kong-based menswear group Trinity Ltd for HK$2.22 billion ($284 million). In 2016, it bought a majority stake in French fashion firm SMCP, the parent behind affordable luxury brands Sandro, Maje and Claudie Pierlot, which have gained significant popularity in China and opened a large number of stores in malls.

In 2010, Shandong Ruyi took 41 percent stake in Japanese apparel maker Renown Inc, with an investment of 4 billion yen ($36.8 million), and became its largest shareholder.

"For Chinese enterprises, the brands they bought from abroad have to be able to launch stores in the shopping malls," said Liang Yuchang, a retail analyst with UBS Securities, according to the 21st Century Business Herald report.

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