Jahwa rejects LVMH acquisition report

Updated: 2011-06-09 10:55

By Gao Changxin (China Daily)

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SHANGHAI - Shanghai Jahwa United Co Ltd on Wednesday rebuffed media reports that it could be acquired by the French luxury brand LVMH Group, reiterating the line that the State-owned cosmetics manufacturers will keep its domestic tag in its planned share sale.

Ge Wenyao, Jahwa's chairman, said that while there is likely to be cooperation between the two sides, including the possibility of a share transfer, Jahwa will "never" be controlled by a foreign company.

"We (Jahwa and LVMH) have engaged in talks and both sides expressed an interest in cooperations, but as of now, no written agreements have been made," said Ge at a news briefing in Shanghai.

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Ge rejected a report in the Economic Observer on Tuesday that claimed Jahwa could be acquired by LVMH, describing it as "incorrect". An LVMH spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment on Wednesday.

LVMH is the world's largest luxury goods conglomerate, and is the parent of around 60 sub-companies. L Capital, the private equity arm of LVMH, launched a $650 million equity fund last year to invest specifically in Asia.

Jahwa owns a 19 percent stake in the Chinese unit of the LVMH cosmetics retail unit, Sephora (Shanghai) Cosmetics Co Ltd.

Jahwa, whose revenue jumped 26.3 percent to 843 million yuan ($130 million) in the first quarter, is currently undergoing restructuring to transform from a State-owned to a public company.

Ge said the company's asset evaluation and audit could be finalized by June 20 and the restructuring could be finished as early as July. He estimated that the sale of Jahwa's 29.2 percent government-controlled shares can fetch no less than 5 billion yuan.

If a deal with LVMH were to be concluded, it would help Jahwa's planned foray into the luxury-goods field, and would help to drive growth after the restructuring, Ge said.

"Luxury fashion is where we want to go and where LVMH has extensive experience. So cooperation would be beneficial for us to break into those areas," he said.


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