L’Occitane owner considers buyout of $4.2bn company

Billionaire chairman Reinold Geiger is studying the possibility of taking the Hong Kong-listed skincare company private

A handout photo of L’Occitane en Provence store at The Galleria in Abu Dhabi (Courtesy: L’Occitane en Provence) *** Local Caption ***  AL11SE-CROWNS-LOCCITANE.jpg
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L’Occitane International's controlling shareholder is considering a move to take the skincare company private, sources have said.

Billionaire chairman Reinold Geiger is studying the possibility of buying out minority shareholders of the Hong Kong-listed group, the sources said.

He has been exploring various financing options for the potential deal.

L’Occitane's shares rose as much as 9.8 per cent in early Wednesday trading, the biggest advance in a month.

The stock has fallen by 14 per cent over the past 12 months, giving the company a market value of about HK$33 billion ($4.2 billion).

An investment vehicle ultimately controlled by Mr Geiger owns more than 70 per cent of L’Occitane, exchange filings show.

The company’s portfolio includes L’Occitane en Provence, inspired by the lavender fields of southern France, and Melvita organic beauty products.

It also owns the Elemis line of collagen creams, as well the Grown Alchemist range of anti-ageing serums and Korean skincare brand Erborian.

L’Occitane, which is based in Luxembourg and Geneva, and its backers raised $787 million in the company’s 2010 initial public offering, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

It listed in Hong Kong at a time when a number of western consumer companies were seeking to boost exposure to the fast-growing consumer market in China.

Over the past five years, an average of $1.7 million in L’Occitane stock has changed hands daily, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Mr Geiger may consider relisting L’Occitane in Paris or another European market at a later date, some of the sources said.

Deliberations are continuing and there is no certainty he will decide to proceed with a transaction, they said.

Representatives for L’Occitane did not respond to several requests for comment. Mr Geiger did not immediately reply to emailed queries.

Updated: July 26, 2023, 4:17 AM