Calida completes Erlich Textil acquisition as sales, profits rise in 2021
Swiss group Calida is stepping up the pace of its strategic shift towards lingerie, as per the ‘Accelerate 2026’ plan presented in November 2021. The group has finalised the acquisition of German lingerie brand Erlich Textil, owned by the Vorfreude group, in which Calida has bought a 90% stake.
The operation was completed in February, and through it Calida has taken control of a brand specialised in sustainable underwear, whose products are manufactured in Europe using high-quality textiles and organic, recyclable fabrics. Sarah Grohé and Benjamin Sadler, founders of Cologne-based Erlich Textil, will continue to run the company, which has 21 employees and generated a revenue of €7 million in 2021.
The acquisition allows Calida not only to strengthen its position in the sustainable fashion segment, but in the e-tail channel too, since Erlich Textil is a digital pure player that targets a young clientèle, selling exclusively via its own e-shop.
In the last two years, Calida has sold sportswear brands Eider (to South Korean group K2) and Oxbow (to French businessmen Jean-Christophe Chetail and Emmanuel Debruères, of the Rainbow group) and has terminated the Killy license. The Swiss group then sold the Millet and Lafuma brands, constituting the Millet Mountain Group, to former shareholder Jean-Pierre Millet, grandson of the French mountain apparel and equipment group’s founders. Calida remains active in the outdoor furniture business, holding in its portfolio Lafuma Mobilier, a brand of camping and outdoor furniture.
Calida was founded in 1941 in Sursee (near Lucerne), where its head offices are still located. The group has over 1,000 employees worldwide and 80% of its output is made in-house in Hungary. Fabrics from Switzerland, Austria and southern Germany account for 75% of the output. Calida closed 2021 with a revenue of CHF298 million (€283.7 million), equivalent to a 19.2% rise net of currency effects, as the group stated in a press release published in the international financial media.
In 2021, Calida’s adjusted operating income was worth a record-breaking CHF24.3 million (€23.1 million), approximately 43% higher than in 2020, with an EBIT margin of 8.1%, higher than forecasts and 6.8% above the previous year.
Calida's online sales grew by 26.7% to CHF80.2 million (€76.4 million), accounting for 27% of the group's total sales. All of the group’s brands recorded positive performances, growing in double digits and exceeding their pre-pandemic revenue levels: Calida generated sales worth CHF152.7 million (€145.4 million), up by 12.8%; Aubade contributed with a revenue of CHF72.2 million (€68.7 million), growing by 28.8%; and Lafuma Mobilier’s revenue increased by 27%, to CHF58.8 million (€55.9 million).
These results have led the board of directors to recommend a 25% increase in the group’s ordinary dividend, to CHF1.00 per share (€0.95), for the next shareholders' meeting, scheduled in April.
Finally, the Calida group stated in the press release that, in future, at least 50% of its normalized cash flow will be distributed to shareholders, and the pay-out will be regularly increased each year.
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