Chinese investors buy leather powerhouse Delvaux

Delvaux, the world’s oldest luxury leather company, is being sold to Chinese investment group Fung Brands. This fund from Hong Kong’s wealthy Fung family has bought the majority of Delvaux’s shares, to facilitate the luxury brand’s international expansion.

This transaction is the result of a year long searching for a good partner to give the company an international boost, after the financial results for 2009 had been quite negative and 2010 saw more reduced sales figures.

The first steps on the right path were already made under the old management, as Christian Salez became the newly appointed CEO, Belgian fashion designer Veronique Branquinho the new artistic director and modernisation and internationalisation the new keywords.

Founded in 1829 by Charles Delvaux, the leather company is one year older than Belgium itself. It had stayed in the Delvaux family’s hands for 104 years, but in 1933 all shares were sold to the Schwennicke family. Almost 200 years after its creation, Delvaux leaves Belgian hands for the first time.

By contrast, the Chinese company is only a few months old, but burning with ambition: the luxury oriented private equity group already bought a participation in French shoe producer Robert Clergerie and is led by Jean-Marc Loubier, ex-Louis Vuitton.