Samsonite Is Exploring Possibility of Second Listing in US

Samsonite International SA is exploring the possibility of a second listing in the US as the luggage maker looks to broaden its investor base, according to people familiar with the matter.

(Bloomberg) — Samsonite International SA is exploring the possibility of a second listing in the US as the luggage maker looks to broaden its investor base, according to people familiar with the matter.

Such a move could help attract more US investors for the Hong Kong-traded company and provide a new avenue for fundraising, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. Considerations are at an early stage and the company could choose not to proceed with any deal, the people said.

In a written response to Bloomberg News query, Samsonite said it currently has no plans to pursue a secondary listing. 

“Like any company or board, we’re constantly evaluating that. And I think we’ll continue to evaluate and think about that,” Chief Executive Officer Kyle Gendreau added in a Bloomberg TV interview Thursday.

Read More: Samsonite Has ‘No Plans in Place’ for Second Listing, CEO Says

The company routinely reviews opportunities that are in the best interest of shareholders and the firm, according to the written response. 

Shares of Samsonite have risen about 18% so far this year as tourism rebounds across Asia, giving the company a market value of around $4.5 billion. 

Samsonite, based in Luxembourg and Massachusetts in the US, raised about HK$10 billion ($1.3 billion) in its Hong Kong initial public offering in 2011. It went public in the Asian financial hub at a time when several Western consumer-goods makers such as L’Occitane International SA and Prada SpA looked to tap into China’s swelling class of affluent people.

However, Samsonite hasn’t been able to gain traction among investors in Hong Kong, where the majority of listed companies are based in China. Over the past five years, an average of $13 million of Samsonite shares changed hands every day, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s a far cry from the $90 million daily average trading volume for Li Ning Co., one of China’s largest sportswear makers which is also a member of the city’s benchmark Hang Seng Index. 

Samsonite started as Shwayder Trunk Manufacturing in Denver in 1910, with Samson as its first brand. The first Samsonite-brand suitcase was introduced 29 years later, according to Hoover’s, Inc. The company was bought by CVC Capital Partners, a private equity firm, for about $1.7 billion in October 2007. Its US retail division, Samsonite Co. Stores, in 2009 sought bankruptcy protection from creditors after the financial crisis caused a slump in demand for travel-related products. The company’s current shareholding is rather fragmented with no individual holder owning more than 10% of the firm.

The luggage maker has been acquisitive since its Hong Kong listing. In 2012, the company bought the High Sierra and Hartmann brands, while two years later it added French luggage brand Lipault, US-based Speck and Gregory to its portfolio. Its biggest deal to date was the $1.8 billion acquisition of Tumi Holdings Inc. in 2016.

The 113-year-old company was questioned by short-seller Blue Orca Capital for its accounting and corporate governance in May 2018, a month after Samsonite’s shares reached an all-time high at HK$38.6. The stock tumbled as much as 17% in the two trading days following the report. Ramesh Tainwala, its chief executive officer at that time, stepped down after the board reviewed Blue Orca’s allegations that Tainwala falsified his educational credentials. However, Samsonite also released a detailed rebuttal of Blue Orca’s allegations of accounting lapses and poor corporate governance.

–With assistance from Shirley Zhao.

(Updates with CEO interview in fourth paragraph.)

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