Retail in Asia

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China’s Fosun takes majority stake in Wolford


Chinese conglomerate Fosun International has taken a majority stake in Austrian brand Wolford, just weeks after it was confirmed that the investor had acquired the French fashion label Lanvin.

SEE ALSO : Fosun International reportedly acquires Lanvin

Fosun will pay 55 million euros to buy a controlling stake in the struggling lingerie firm, currently family-owned, and will make an offer to remaining shareholders, both groups said on Thursday.

The main shareholders of Wolford, the WMP Familien-Privatstiftung, Sesam Privatstiftung and M.Erthal & Co. Beteiligungsgesellschaft, which represent the founding families’ stake, first expressed sale interest in June, and said it had considered options from more than 50 buyers, before deciding on Fosun.

Breaking it down, the Chinese firm will pay 33 million euros ($40 million) for a 50.9 percent stake and will provide up to 22 million euros as part of a capital increase.
Fosun said it intends to offer other shareholders 13.67 euros per share to gain full control, boosting the Austrian group’s stock. With key markets currently being Europe and North America, Fosun’s acquisition could end up pushing the Wolford brand into Asia to improve dwindling sales in France, the UK and the US.
It’s been a rocky twenty-four months for Wolford, which has suffered a plunge in demand for its premium tights, leggings and bras, coinciding with logistical hiccups and management shuffling.

For the six months through October, Wolford reported a loss before interest and tax (EBIT) of 6.2 million euros, up 21 percent on the previous year’s first half.
Half-year revenue was flat at 70.2 million euros, it said at the time of reporting.

SEE ALSO : Fosun and Septwolves eye Bally purchase

Fosun continues to power on in 2018 in fashion. The firm became majority shareholder in struggling French fashion house Lanvin earlier this month and also has stakes in Italian high-end menswear label Caruso and U.S. knitwear firm St. John Knits.