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Fosun completes acquisition of majority stake in Wolford

By Prachi Singh

May 7, 2018

Management

After Lanvin, Fosun International has successfully completed acquisition of the majority of shares in Wolford AG, the latter has announced. Following the acquisition of 50.87 percent of the shares from the previous majority shareholders, Fosun Industrial Holdings Limited, a group controlled by Chinese billionaire Guo Guangchang is now the new main shareholder of Wolford, maker of luxury hosiery, bras, and bodywear.

“The stake acquired by Fosun once again confirms the appeal of our brand and our growth opportunities. We are very pleased with the participation of an anchor shareholder boasting substantial experience in the luxury goods segment, which, last but not least, will significantly facilitate our access to the Asian market, especially China,” said Axel Dreher, CEO of Wolford in a statement.

Fosun International buys majority stake in Wolford

After reporting disappointing results for the fiscal year ended April 2017, Bregenz, Austria-based Wolford’s shareholders, the WMP Familien-Privatstiftung, Sesam Privatstiftung and M.Erthal & Co. Beteiligungsgesellschaft, had expressed their desire to sell a majority stake in the company. The company had then recorded a loss (EBIT) of 15.7 million euros (18.7 million dollars) for the year.

In a statement dated March 1, 2018, Wolford said, to strengthen Wolford AG’s financial structure, Wolford AG and Fosun agreed on a cash capital increase, with shareholders’ subscription rights being maintained, which shall provide 22 million euros (26.2 million dollars) of fresh equity to the company. At the extraordinary general meeting held on May 4, 2018, Wolford resolved to increase the share capital from 36.35 million euros (43.36 million dollars) to 48.84 million euros (58.26 million dollars) by issuing 1,719,151 new ordinary shares. The issue price per new share, the company said, amounts to 12.80 euros (15.27 dollars) and the total issue price amounts to 22 million euros.

At the meeting, the company’s board also appointed Dr. Junyang Shao as a member of the supervisory board until the end of the 35th annual general meeting, replacement for the resigned supervisory board member Thomas Tschol and Thomas Dressendörfer as a member of the supervisory board until the end of the 31st annual general meeting as replacement for the resigned supervisory board member Lothar Reiff. Following the extraordinary general meeting, the newly constituted supervisory board of Wolford AG elected Dr. Junyang Shao as chairperson of the supervisory board and Thomas Dressendörfer as deputy chairperson of the supervisory board.

China’s Fosun makes strong headways into global luxury fashion

Fosun - the Chinese financial investor systematically invests in the global fashion and consumer goods industry, and already holds stakes in the Germany’s Tom Tailor Group and the French luxury brand Lanvin, amongst other holdings. The company's acquisition of Wolford follows after its recently won the race to become the majority shareholder in struggling French fashion house, Lanvin by planning to invest over a 100 million euros (119.2 million dollars) to help turnaround of the iconic luxury fashion house.

The multinational company is listed on the main board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange 2007. Founded in 1992, Fosun’s total assets amounted to 533.8 billion Chinese yuan (85 billion) as of December 31, 2017. The Fosun Fashion Group was created under the parent company to manage Fosun’s current portfolio of fashion assets including Lanvin, St John Knits, Caruso, and Tom Tailor as well as invest in additional global flagship brands to leverage the momentum in the Chinese consumer market.

Commenting on the Fosun buying majority stake in Wolford, Joann Cheng, President of Fosun Fashion Group said in a media release: “We are pleased to become Wolford’s new partner and confident that this globally renowned brand has significant growth potential. As China continues to drive the global luxury market, Wolford can leverage Fosun’s expansive China and global resources to grow and strengthen its high luxury positioning while maintaining its exceptional high quality of production in Europe.”

Picture credit:Wolford press centre

Fosun International
Wolford