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Oct 5, 2021
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SMCP shares rise on prospect of ownership change

Reuters API
Oct 5, 2021

Shares of French fashion firm SMCP (SMCP.PA) rose on Tuesday as the company inched towards an ownership change, prompting an analyst upgrade on expectations its financially strapped majority shareholder Shandong Ruyi (002193.SZ) will soon exit.

Photo: SMCP's Sandro brand

Shandong Ruyi confirmed on Tuesday that its unit European TopSoho, had failed to redeem 250 million euros ($293.35 million) of bonds exchangeable into SMCP shares.

"The expected impending exit of embattled shareholder Shandong Ruyi removes a headwind which has raised the risk profile of SMCP since its IPO, hence we eliminate our shareholder discount," said Jefferies in a research note, upgrading the share to "buy".

SMCP's labels, which include Sandro and Maje, are outperforming according to social media data, added the analysts.
Shares rose by around 10%, hitting their highest level in around four months.

The ownership change could be a drawn-out process, added Jefferies analysts, noting private equity players and U.S. affordable luxury groups will likely be interested in acquiring the group.

Ruyi embarked on a buying spree in 2015, snapping up labels including Aquascutum, Cerruti 1881 and Savile Row tailor Gieves & Hawkes with ambitions of building an empire to rival that of luxury behemoth LVMH but has struggled under the weight of debt from acquisitions.

The sprawling Chinese conglomerate’s financial difficulties worsened with the outbreak of the coronavirus in China and it failed to secure financing for a $600 million deal to purchase Bally last year.

SMCP recently bounced back from the coronavirus crisis, with sales up 54.6% on an organic basis, fuelled by appetite in China for its contemporary French fashion, following a drop in sales of 24% last year.

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