Tue, Feb 05, 2019 - Page 6 News List

Chinese dealmaker plans IPO for US$2bn Lycra unit


Local glitterati look on as a model presents a creation of the Lycra brand at Colombiatex, Colombia’s major textile fair, in Medellin, Antioquia Department, on Jan. 24.

Photo: AFP

Acquisitive Chinese luxury apparel firm Shandong Ruyi Group (山東如意) is planning an initial public offering for The Lycra Co, maker of the elastic material used in yoga pants and skinny jeans.

Ruyi aims to list the business within three years, chief strategy officer Kelvin Ho (何卓賢) said in an interview on Friday last week in Hong Kong. Lycra Co owns some well-known brands and has strong cash flow, and a listing would provide a great incentive for staff, Ho said.

Consumer companies have completed US$48.5 billion of first-time share sales globally over the past 12 months, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Ruyi added about 3,000 employees through its acquisition of Lycra Co, which it completed on Jan. 31.

The acquisition brings brands including Coolmax fibers and Thermolite insulation as well as manufacturing facilities, research centers and sales offices around the globe. Ruyi paid more than US$2 billion for the business, Bloomberg News has reported.

Ruyi finally closed the acquisition of Lycra Co, which was owned by an arm of Koch Industries Inc, after regulatory delays hampered the transaction for months. It completed the purchase just hours before a final deadline ran out on Jan. 31, more than 15 months after the deal was announced, a person familiar with the matter said.

The deal took over six months longer than expected, in part because Chinese capital controls made it difficult to move funds offshore, according to people familiar with the matter. The regulatory approval process in China and the US also took longer than expected, the people said, asking not to be identified as the details are private.

A representative for Ruyi declined to comment on the reasons for the delay, adding that the regulatory process was normal. The seller, Koch Industries unit Invista, did not immediately respond to e-mailed queries outside regular US business hours.

The Chinese company, previously a little-known textile manufacturer, now owns several European luxury brands after purchases including UK trench coat maker Aquascutum and SMCP SA, the French fashion retailer whose labels include Sandro, Maje and Claudie Pierlot.

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