21 oct. 2020
Australian billionaire Andrew Forrest, who made his fortune in the mining industry, announced that his company had acquired shoemaker RM Williams from the L Catterton fund (linked to the LVMH group), returning the ownership of the famous shoe brand to his country of origin – Australia – after six years.
In a press release, the founder and main shareholder of Fortescue Metals Group Ltd said he was “incredibly pleased and humble” about the takeover of this iconic manufacturer, which can boast “a long and proud history of Australian craftsmanship”.
Andrew Forrest has not disclosed the amount of the transaction, but the Australian Financial Review indicates that it is around 190 million Australian dollars (113.4 million euros). Far below the roughly $ 500 million estimated by Australian media when LVMH, through its investment arm L Catterton, put the company up for sale in 2019.
When L Catterton bought RM Williams in 2014, the company was valued at around A $ 104 million. At the time of this writing, the group had not yet wished to comment on this information.
Fashion retailers around the world have seen a sharp drop in sales since the start of the Covid-19 epidemic, which has resulted in border closures and containment measures in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus.
RM Williams, founded 88 years ago, employs 900 people in Australia. At the height of the health crisis, the brand had to temporarily close its Adelaide plant. It has since reopened most of its 68 retail outlets, which are largely on the country’s east coast.
Australian swimwear maker Seafolly Pty Ltd, also controlled by L Catterton, appointed directors in June, citing declining sales linked to the health crisis.
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