Viva China poised to gain controlling stake in Clarks
Viva China Holdings Ltd, major shareholder of Chinese sportswear group Li Ning Co Ltd, will take a controlling stake in Clarks, one of the UK's oldest shoe producers, if the company's extraordinary general meeting approves next Wednesday.
According to the file Viva China released on Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing on May 26, the group aims to expand its multi-brand apparel and footwear business. The transaction follows its acquisition of a controlling stake in casual wear brand Bossini in July 2020 and Amedeo Testoni, a century-old Italian luxury brand, in early 2022.
Compared with Clarks' revenue of 1.37 billion pounds ($1.72 billion) in 2019, data from the file showed its revenue was 778.9 and 926.2 million pounds in 2020 and 2021, respectively. Meanwhile, its profit was -150.6 million pounds in 2020 and 53 million pounds in 2021.
Over the past three years, more than 80 percent of Clarks' revenue has been from the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland and the United States.
After the pandemic, the board of Viva China said it believes the global retail market will pick up, and the performance of Clarks' business will improve. It sees growth potential in Clarks by tapping into the Asia market, in particular China, and increasing the use of online platforms.
Li Yingtao, senior analyst for brand retail at Analysys, told National Business Daily overseas mergers and acquisitions are necessary for a company to maintain advantage, but how to localize also needs to be considered.