Travellers line up for an old-for-new suitcase swap arranged by Samsonite in Korea a few years back (AFP)
Less than two years after completing a major financial restructuring to avert bankruptcy, Samsonite International is looking to become the second international consumer product brand to go public in Hong Kong. The luggage specialist yesterday kicked off the institutional marketing for an initial public offering of up to HK$11.75 billion ($1.5 billion) and aims to start trading on June 16.
The deal comes at a time when consumer spending in Asia, and China in particular, is becoming increasingly important for producers of consumer goods and a growing number of international companies are looking to get closer to their customers by listing in the region as well. The depth and liquidity of the Hong Kong stock market and its active retail investor base is supporting this trend and, while L’Occitane is the only non-Asian consumer goods company to list in Hong Kong so far, the pipeline of potential deals is already quite long.
Next in line after Samsonite, is fashion icon Prada, which is currently pre-marketing for a Hong Kong IPO of between $2 billion and $2.5 billion and is expected to start a formal roadshow next Monday.
Samsonite, which is primarily known for it hard-side suitcases but also operates cheaper luggage brands like American Tourister and AT, and makes casual bags for travelling, doesn’t have the same image of luxury as Prada, but in terms of brand recognition it isn’t far behind. The company is six times larger than its nearest direct competitor in terms of sales and its suitcases can be found at 37,000 points of sale in more than 100 countries. It derived one-third of its sales and more than 40% of its adjusted Ebitda from Asia last year.
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