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L'Occitane bids to raise $812 million in Hong Kong share offering

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-04-26

Upmarket cosmetics group L’Occitane says it plans to raise up to 812 million dollars in the first share offering by a French company on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

AFP - French cosmetics group L'Occitane said Sunday it could raise as much as 812 million US dollars in a Hong Kong share offering.

The company said it would offer 364.12 million shares for between 12.88 and 15.08 Hong Kong dollars (1.65 and 1.94 US dollars) per share from Monday, with the price to be fixed at the end of this month.

An over-allotment option would let the company issue an additional 54.61 million shares, it said.

The company said it expected to net about 315.6 million US dollars after expenses, assuming a mid-range share price of 13.98 Hong Kong dollars. That figure did not include the over-allotment option.

L'Occitane's stock would start trading on May 7, the company said.

It would be the first French company to list on Hong Kong's bourse, which has been eager to attract non-Chinese businesses amid stiff competition from London and Shanghai.

"We believe (Asia-Pacific) will be a key growth driver in the coming years and that is one of the reasons we have decided to list our company in Hong Kong," Managing Director Andre Hoffmann said in a videoconference on Sunday.

About 65 percent of the initial public offering proceeds will be earmarked for expanding the brand's presence in high-growth emerging markets such as China, Brazil, Russia, India and Mexico, the company said.

The company would also open new stores in established markets including Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom, it said.

The remaining IPO proceeds would be used to update French manufacturing plants, and develop L'Occitane's Internet sales business, it said.

The company, which has about 1,500 stores worldwide, said Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan alone accounted for 35 percent of its total sales in the nine-month period ending December 2009.

L'Occitane said its total sales in 2009 were 537.33 million euros (719.19 million US dollars) with a 58.38 million euro profit.

L'Occitane has 46 stores in mainland China and plans to boost that number.

Company executives declined to say how many new Chinese locations would be opened. But other international cosmetics brands have more than 100 locations in China, a rough guide for L'Occitane's plans, they said.

"China is expected to be the fastest-growing cosmetics market," Olivier Ceccarelli, the company's head of strategy, said Sunday.

"China will continue to be a major revenue driver for our company."

Chairman Reinold Geiger said the decision to list in Hong Kong was unrelated to criticism that the financial hub's regulations are more lax than those in other capital centres.

Hong Kong's new listings raised a total of 31.8 billion US dollars in 2009 -- the world's biggest IPO market last year -- but criticism mounted after the controversial approval of debt-laden Russian aluminium giant UC Rusal's share sale and a string of weak-performing new listings.
 

Date created : 2010-04-26

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