Chinese firm buys luxury crystal maker BACCARAT
The move confirms that more Chinese companies are looking at buying European luxury brands
After over a decade, Starwood Capital is no longer the majority shareholder of French crystal maker, Baccarat. Founded by royal decree of King Louis XV, the 253-year-old company will now call Chinese investment company Fortune Fountain Capital Ltd its majority shareholders. The firm is parting with 164 million euros to or 222.70 euros per share to acquire the controlling stake of the Paris-based firm.
Known for its finely crafted champagne glasses and chandeliers, Baccarat counts royal families as fans of its design and can be seen around the world. From the Louvre to Istanbul’s Dolmabahce Palace, each piece crafted by the artisans is regarded as a work of art.
Owned by descendants of renowned Chinese calligrapher, Wang Xizhi, Fortune Fountain now owns 88% of the company, having bought the shares over from Starwood and L Catterton. According to Baccarat, the Chinese firm has no plans to delist the company but will offer shareholders the same price for their shares. With this new move, the brand is said to be accelerating its expansion into Asia and the Middle East and will continue to maintain production and jobs in the French town that it is named after. Baccarat has also said that Daniela Riccardi will continue to lead the company as chief executive officer. In 2005, Starwood Capital took over the brand from the Taittinger family.
While there has been declining revenue, Baccarat turned a profit for the first time in 2016. The acquisition is one of many that sees Chinese investors venturing into Europe, with France, Britain and Germany being the most popular options.