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Belle may kit out sportswear arm with a listing: report
Posted on Tuesday, 15 May 2018 09:41
Less than a year after taking Belle International Holdings private for HKD 53.14 billion (USD 6.83 billion), the owners of the largest shoe retailer in China are consider splitting off and listing the sportswear distribution business, Bloomberg reported.

Sources familiar with the situation cautioned the news provider that discussions are still in the very early stages and Hillhouse Capital, CDH Investments and management could decide to forgo an initial public offering.

However, one person, who asked to remain anonymous as the matter is still private, indicated the sportswear operations could raise about USD 1.00 billion in Hong Kong, should a listing go ahead.

When contacted by Bloomberg, the owners, which include management, and the retailer declined to comment.

Belle is focused on two main segments – footwear and sportswear and apparel – within China’s sluggish brick-and-mortar retail market, which has slowed down in recent years due to intense competition and low growth.

The business of the unit flagged for a possible spin-off is mostly in the form of retail distribution, including first-tier brands such as Nike and Adidas, second-tier labels like PUMA and Converse and clothing marques ranging from REPLAY to moussy.

In the last annual report available, for the 12 months ended 28th February 2017, increasing demand for sports and fitness from consumers supported healthy growth at this division.

Belle’s branded arm recorded revenue of CNY 22.75 billion in FY 2016-17, of which the first-tier brands accounted for CNY 19.35 billion and the next level labels for CNY 2.15 billion.

The unit’s turnover was up 15.4 per cent year-on-year (FY 2015-16: CNY 19.72 billion), driven by a 52.9 per cent increase in the other athletic and apparel category over the 12 months (FY 2016-17: CNY 1.25 billion; FY 2015-16: CNY 816.50 million).

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