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Shandong Ruyi: "we aim to be the LVMH of China"

Lauretta Roberts
20 February 2018

Chinese textiles group Shandong Ruyi has outlined its acquisition strategy, following erroneous reports at the weekend that it was interested in buying Sir Philip Green's Arcadia Group, saying it aims to develop "the LVMH of China".

In a statement issued today the group, which already owns majority stakes in Swiss luxury house Bally and French accessible luxury group SMCP (Sandro Maje Claudie Pierlot), said it had "no new acquisition plans at the moment".

However it added that "it plans to continue to look for suitable acquisition targets in accord with its development direction, which is to focus on developing business in relation to its core business pursuits. Its aim is to develop into the “LVMH group of China”,' - a reference to the French-based luxury conglomerate, which owns Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Givenchy among many others.

The Chinese business, which has a vertically integrated manufacturing arm ranging from wool and cotton production through to a high-tech garment manufacturing business, outlined the kinds of fashion brands it is interested in acquiring in the future.

"Ruyi has positioned itself as the largest holding group of global fashion brands with manufacturing capability. It has a clear brand development roadmap. The brands it is to acquire have to be aligned with its corporate development strategy and positioning, have a close link with the capital market, boast good development and high growth prospects, plus be well-loved and recognised by consumers, able to sway fashion trends and superb in design," it said.

The business has been snapping up European brands of late. In 2016 it acquired a majority stake in SMCP from private equity house KKR for €1.3bn. The business was subsequently floated in Paris last year. In December of 2016 it acquired British heritage brand Acquascutum from its then owner YGM Trading in Hong Kong and most recently it bought a majority stake in Bally from JAB Luxury.

However both Ruyi and Arcadia owner Sir Philip Green say no talks about a potential acquisition of the Topshop-to-Burton Group have ever taken place. Green went further in a statement issued yesterday, dismissing a report in The Sunday Times which speculated on a possible deal, as "malicious rumour-mongering".

Green also said that there were no plans to sell his fashion empire at this stage. “Neither Sir Philip nor any of the directors of Arcadia have ever met or had any contact with Shandong Ruyi, and they have never been to the Arcadia offices as was suggested to look at the company’s books,” his statement said, adding there was "no truth" in suggestions he had been seeking a buyer for some time.

While Arcadia may be off the table for Ruyi, it is clear that there are others in its sights.

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