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Fosun to acquire majority stake in Wolford, ahead of takeover bid

By Vivian Hendriksz

1 Mar 2018


London - Fosun Industrial Holdings Limited is set to acquire a majority stake in luxury Austrian textile manufacturer Wolford AG. The Chinese financial investor has come to an agreement with the main shareholder of the struggling group and is set to take over more than 2.5 million shares, approximately 50.87 percent of the total share capital of Wolford for 12.80 euros per share.

At the moment the share purchase agreement has yet to be approved, as it is expected to be subject to the fulfillment of certain conditions precedent including clearance by the competent merger control authorities. However, once the deal is closed, Fosun will become the new strategic majority shareholder of Wolford. The development comes as the Chinese company is predicted to make a takeover bid to shareholders for the remaining shares, as it aims to take full control of the ailing company.

Fosun to purchase majority stake in Wolford following takeover of Lanvin

Wolford, best known for its luxury hosiery, bras, and bodywear, is currently going through a business restructuring after falling into the red more than a year ago. Based in Bregenz, Austria, Wolford previously reported a loss (EBIT) of 15.7 million euros for the financial year which ended April 2017, which led to the main shareholders of the company, the WMP Familien-Privatstiftung, Sesam Privatstiftung and M.Erthal & Co. Beteiligungsgesellschaft, announcing they were keen to sell an undefined majority stake in the company last summer.

In order to strengthen Wolford's current financial structure, Fosun is intended to agree on a cash capital increase of 22 million euros. The capital increase is set to provide the struggling company with fresh equity but requires a resolution from the general meeting according to a statement from Wolford. In addition, Fosun intends to commit itself to an increase in the share capital of Wolford from the current 36.3 million euros against a cash contribution of nearly 12.5 million euros to more than 48.84 million euros by issuing more than 1.7 million new shares at 12.80 euros per share.

This commitment includes the subscription of new shares to the extent that shareholders of Wolford do not exercise their subscription rights in full and sees the maximum cash contribution from Fosun to come to 22 million euros. Both parties are expected to sign the needed contracts later today, and the closing of the share purchase agreement and the general meeting which will resolve the cash capital agreement are set to take place in May 2018. The general meeting will take place after clearance of Fosun's share purchase.

The Chinese company's acquisition of Wolford comes a little more than a week after it became the majority shareholder of struggling French fashion house, Lanvin. Fosun is set to invest more than a 100 million euros in Lanvin to help turnaround the iconic luxury fashion house.

Photo: Wolford