While announcing excellent financial results, Li & Fung announced two big purchases. The big Chinese trading company is buying an American footwear company, Jimlar Corporation, and plans to buy a Hong Kong logistics firm, Integrated Distribution Services (IDS).
In the first half of this year, Li & Fung's turnover rose by 12 percent to 51.8 billion Hong Kong dollars (€5.2bn-$6.7bn). Net profit for the six months jumped by 55 percent to HK$2.17 billion (€217.7m-$279.2m). The company attributed the increases to the beginnings of an economic recovery in the U.S. Business in Europe also continued to grow. New outsourcing deals in behalf of other companies and contributions from recent acquisitions helped the good figures.
Li & Fung said the proposed acquisition of IDS would help it expand in Asia, especially China, and provide a complete end-to-end supply chain solution. IDS provides logistics services, distributes fast-moving consumer goods, and works with health care products and manufacturing.
The proposed offer is for a cash consideration of HKD$21 (€2.11-$2.70) per scheme share, a statement said. The total cash amount is about HK$4.4bn (€441.3m-$566.2m), to be paid with internal resources. J.P. Morgan is advising Li & Fung on the deal.
The IDS takeover plan comes on the heels of Li & Fung's acquisition of Jimlar, a footwear company based in Great Neck, New York. Jimlar designs, distributes and supplies footwear worldwide through its own brands Frye, Mountrek and RJ Colt, and is a footwear licensee of Coach and Calvin Klein. The purchase price was not disclosed. Li & Fung is using the acquisition to expand its presence in the U.S. and in the footwear industry in general. It said that the deal should increase the group's footwear sourcing capabilities.
Jimlar has been a family-owned company since 1956, when Victor and Madeleine Tarica founded it. Today, their sons, Jim and Larry, are the chairman and president respectively. It employs about 700 people worldwide and has offices in Italy, China, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Mexico.
Since February, Li & Fung has made many other acquisitions. It bought Visage Group, a private-label apparel supplier to U.K. retailers; the Hong Kong-based Jackel Group, a beauty company; HTP Group, another Hong Kong company that specializes in jeanswear; and Cipriani Accessories and its affiliate, the Max Leather Group of North America. It has also started or expanded licensing deals with TapouT, a mixed martial arts brand, and Sean John men's sportswear.