WOOLRICH, Pa. and BOLOGNA, Italy, Nov. 29, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Woolrich Inc., America's oldest outdoor clothing company and one of the world's leading manufacturers of outdoor lifestyle apparel, and Woolrich Europe, licensee of the trademark for Europe and Asia, owned by W.P. Lavori in Corso, jointly-announced today the completion of an agreement to merge into Woolrich International, a new holding company responsible for leading and accelerating the future growth and development of the Woolrich brand, both in the North American market and worldwide.
The agreement includes all of the entity's industrial assets, the rights associated with the brand and the entire distribution network. Financial terms of the private transaction have not been disclosed.
The newly-formed company, Woolrich International will be headquartered in London and will coordinate the operating offices in New York City, Woolrich Pennsylvania, and Bologna and Milan, Italy. The new entity will have a global workforce of 300 people, with a closing provision of an annual turnover of $190 million for 2016. This transaction allows the Woolrich brand to continue its path of development with prospects for an annual average growth of 12% from 2017 to 2020, expected to reach an annual turnover of $300 million by 2020, employing 500 people. This expansion is supported by a capital expenditure plan of about $50 million, aimed to reach over 60 points of sale.
Woolrich International, at the end of the 4 years strategic plan, aims to be listed through an IPO in a prominent international stock market with the purpose to sustain the second growth phase on the emerging markets with superior potential. The execution of the IPO will be evaluated even considering possible strategic alliances which can accelerate the implementation of the 2017-2020 plan.
Founded in 1830 by John Rich with the establishment of the original Woolrich Woolen Mill, still operative in Pennsylvania, Woolrich Inc. is the epitome of the history of the U.S. outdoor apparel industry. What started during the Civil War as a response to the need for appropriate clothing and blankets has evolved into an original American clothing company that weaves its tradition and craft into purpose-inspired, functional, protective and durable products.
W.P. Lavori in Corso has been a partner of Woolrich since 1984, initially involved in its distribution, then, in 1998, evolving the collaboration into an official license to design, produce and distribute Woolrich products, starting in Italy, then expanding into Europe and Asia. Thanks to the launch of the Woolrich John Rich & Bros. collection and its original icon Arctic Parka, Woolrich has become a leading brand in the contemporary outerwear market, present today in 45 countries with a network of 25 stores.
The industrial merger of Woolrich Inc. and Woolrich Europe establishes a new industry leader, leveraging Woolrich Inc.'s recognized leadership as a pioneer in textile manufacturing and outdoor specialist in the North American market, and Woolrich Europe's well-known premium branding, marketing, design, creativity and international distribution capabilities.
Cristina Calori, Chairman and CEO of W.P. Lavori in Corso and Woolrich Europe, will lead the merged organization, assuming the role of Chairman of Woolrich International. Paolo Corinaldesi has been appointed Chief Executive Officer. Andrea Canè, Creative Director for Woolrich Europe, has been appointed Global Creative Director with complete creative responsibility for all Woolrich collections and brand image. Nicholas Brayton, 7th-generation descendent of founder John Rich, will continue his role of President of Woolrich Inc., leading the North American market.
W.P. Lavori in Corso will control and consolidate the new entity, while the Rich family will continue to own a significant stake.
The Woolrich strategic plan is based on the following pillars:
- Forward expansion and global development of the Woolrich John Rich & Bros. label as an outerwear leader, supported by strong marketing investments, development of the retail network (stores and shop in shop), acceleration of the e-commerce channel, and partnership with selected retailers
- Re-launch of the Woolrich Outdoor clothing label with a new global development plan
- Development plan for Greater China, with the establishment of a dedicated company
- Reinforce and exploit the Woolen Mill (Woolrich, PA), one of the oldest and still operating woolen mills in America for the production of Made in USA textiles and blankets
Cristina Calori, Chairman of Woolrich International commented: "We are extremely proud of this industrial deal, as with over 32 years of collaboration, we have built an excellent relationship between the Woolrich and W.P. families. We are determined to enhance our successful business model to foster development of the brand all over the world."
"Woolrich is America's oldest outdoor clothing company; its history runs parallel to that of the United States," said Andrea Canè, Global Creative Director of Woolrich International. "This is what makes the brand unique. With Woolrich John Rich & Bros, we embraced the history and archives to embed protection, functionality and quality into a contemporary outerwear collection recognized by the iconic Arctic Parka. The opportunity with this merger is to create global brand recognition and success, adding to the contemporary line the launch of a new outdoor project."
Nicholas Brayton, President of Woolrich Inc. stated: "The core values of our family and all Woolrich people are the same as those of our partner. This agreement is a milestone in the growth of an iconic American brand that has been on the market for almost two centuries. The new strategy will translate into further acceleration of our international growth and we could not be more excited about that this means for the future of Woolrich."
The merger integration and development business plan is supported by a specifically structured financing facility supplied by a banks' pool composed of INTESA SANPAOLO GROUP, UNICREDIT AND BPER Banca. The financing includes also a tranche in favor of Woolrich Inc. to back up the business development in the USA, released through the New York's branches of INTESA SANPAOLO GROUP, UNICREDIT and the support of BPER Banca. Banca IMI and UNICREDIT have been Joint Mandated Lead Arrangers & Bookrunners and financial advisors in favor of W.P. Lavori in Corso. Deloitte Financial Advisory has acted as financial advisor for Woolrich Europe Spa. Banca IMI has been also agent of the financing arrangement. Financo, LLC. has acted as financial advisor for Woolrich Inc.
Established in Woolrich (PA) in 1830, Woolrich is the oldest American outdoor clothing brand, with two labels: Woolrich Outdoor, distributed in North America, and Woolrich John Rich & Bros., the contemporary high-end outerwear line distributed worldwide. With 186 years of experience and rich American history and values for the outdoors, Woolrich products reflect the Woolrich heritage by combining the brand's historical identity with a contemporary interpretation. The Original Woolrich Arctic Parka, introduced in 1972 for the workers of the Alaskan pipeline, and now considered the quintessential down parka, is the worldwide-recognized brand icon and symbol. The Woolrich collections are distributed in 45 countries through a network of 25 stores worldwide.
USA and Canada: www.woolrich.com; www.woolrich.eu; Europe and Asia: www.woolrich.eu
About W.P. Lavori in Corso
W.P. Lavori in Corso established in 1982 by Cristina Calori, is an international group of heritage brands, licensees and exclusive worldwide distributors for the Woolrich John Rich & Bros. brand, through Woolrich Europe. The mission of W.P. has always been to research, distribute and license the best original brands from all over the world, assuring the best positioning, through a dedicated wholesale and retail network. W.P. is worldwide distributor and licensee of the brands Baracuta, Spiewak and B.D. Baggies. W.P. is also distributor of the Barbour, Blundstone and Palladium. The retail network of W.P. Lavori in Corso includes 4 Barbour Stores, 2 Baracuta Stores, 10 WP Stores and 25 Woolrich Stores. Consolidated revenue for 2015 was €144 million.
SOURCE Woolrich International