Trading in French beauty brand L’Occitane was halted in Hong Kong after reports emerged that its controlling shareholder might turn the company private.
The luxury retailer, known for its skincare products and fragrances, raised more than US$700 million in its Hong Kong initial public offering in 2010, buoyed by optimism over the booming Chinese consumer market.
Bloomberg News said in July that L’Occitane International SA chairman Reinold Geiger was looking into the possibility of taking the company private, including discussions for a potential take-private offer of as much as HK$35 per share.
Geiger ultimately controls L’Occitane, owning more than 70 percent of the company, and has been speaking to advisers about the possibility of relisting the firm on a European exchange as soon as next year, Bloomberg News said.
L’Occitane announced yesterday that its Hong Kong-listed stocks would be suspended “pending the publication of an announcement pursuant to the Code on Takeovers and Mergers” an exchange filing showed.
The firm, headquartered in Luxembourg and Geneva, Switzerland, said last month it was considering a possible take-private deal with an offer price of no less than HK$26 per share, but “has not received any firm offer” at the time.
It closed at HK$27.80 on Thursday last week, with the market halting trading the following day due to a typhoon.
L’Occitane’s stock price was flat for the first half of the year before spiking about 40 percent in late July.
The brand’s listing in Hong Kong came at a time when Western brands were seeking new ways to tap the growing Chinese consumer market.
Taking the company private would add to a series of similar deals in Hong Kong as valuations remain depressed. Chinese snack maker Dali Foods Group Co (達利食品) received a take-private proposal from its controlling shareholder in June, and big-screen cinema company Imax Corp is also seeking to take full control of its listed Chinese business.
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