L’Occitane International SA halted trading in Hong Kong ahead of an announcement that may spell out details on the French skin care company’s potential take-private plan.
The firm said in August that its controlling shareholder was considering a possible deal to take the company private with a minimum possible offer of HK$26 ($3.31) per share. L’Occitane said at the time that it hadn’t received a firm offer and no definitive agreements had been entered into.
Bloomberg News has previously reported that L’Occitane’s chairman Reinold Geiger was studying the possibility of taking the company private, including discussions for a potential take-private offer of as much as HK$35 per share. A vehicle ultimately controlled by Geiger owns more than 70 percent of L’Occitane, and he has been speaking to advisers about the possibility of relisting the firm on a European exchange as soon as next year, according to Bloomberg News.
A take-private of the company would add to a series of similar deals in Hong Kong as valuations remain depressed. Chinese snack maker Dali Foods Group Co. received a take-private proposal from its controlling shareholder in June, and big-screen cinema company Imax Corp. is also seeking to take full control of its listed Chinese business.
L’Occitane, which is based in Luxembourg and Geneva, and its backers raised $787 million in the company’s 2010 initial public offering. It listed in Hong Kong at a time when a number of Western consumer companies were seeking to boost exposure to the fast-growing market in China. Hong Kong individual investors ordered almost 160 times the number of L’Occitane shares reserved for them, making it one of the most popular IPOs at the time.
The company’s portfolio includes L’Occitane en Provence, inspired by the lavender fields of southern France, and Melvita organic beauty products. It also owns the Elemis line of collagen creams, as well as the Grown Alchemist range of anti-aging serums and Korean skin care brand Erborian.
L’Occitane Owner Said to Mull Buyout of $4 Billion Beauty Firm
Billionaire chairman Reinold Geiger is studying the possibility of buying out minority shareholders of the Hong Kong-listed group.