Hong Kong group takes over Marionnaud

31st March 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 31 (AFP) - The AS Watson retail unit of Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa succeeded in its EUR 900 million bid for the troubled French perfume and cosmetics chain Marionnaud, which could make it the world's biggest company in the sector.

PARIS, March 31 (AFP) - The AS Watson retail unit of Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa succeeded in its EUR 900 million bid for the troubled French perfume and cosmetics chain Marionnaud, which could make it the world's biggest company in the sector.

Watson - part of the empire of Asia's richest man, Chinese tycoon Li Ka-shing - said the offer had been accepted by Marionnaud's main shareholder, the founding Frydman family, which agreed to sell its 22-percent stake.

Marionnaud's fate had been the subject of much speculation since it announced at the end of last year that it had millions of euros in accounting errors, sparking a collapse in its share price and a probe by regulators.

Watson's offer of EUR 21.80 per share, which closed on March 21, gave the Chinese group more than 90 percent of the capital and voting rights, the French financial markets watchdog AMF said Thursday.

Watson said it plans to reopen its offer for the remaining shares under the same conditions on April 4.

With 1,300 Marionnaud stores, Watson will strengthen its network of health and beauty product stores in Europe, which include Superdrug and Savers in Great Britain and the discount perfume outlet Ici Paris XL in the Netherlands and Belgium.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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