Esprit Raises $667 Million in Share Sale

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Clothing retailer Esprit announced Friday that it had raised around $666.9 million via a rights issue as it tries to rebuild its brand with a multimillion-dollar four-year transformation drive.

A total of around 646.1 million shares were sold at HK$8 ($1.03) each. When the share sale was announced in October Esprit said it wanted to raise $677 million.

Funds raised from the new share sale will be used for "refurbishing existing stores", "developing the supply chain", and "fueling future expansion plans", the company said in October.

Esprit -- founded in San Francisco in 1968 and headquartered in Hong Kong -- has announced its exit from Spain, Denmark and Sweden to focus on Asia, especially China, as part of a transformation after it saw a 98-percent plunge in net profit last year.

The new focus is a change from its previous international expansion drive that former CEO Ronald Van der Vis, who suddenly resigned earlier this year, said had caused the company to have "lost its soul".

While about 80 percent of Esprit's revenue is from Europe, the Asia-Pacific region -- and specifically China -- is important to its turnaround plan.

Jose Manuel Martinez Gutierrez, a former senior executive at Spanish clothing retailer Zara, was appointed chief executive in August.

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