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India’s Reliance Industries To Purchase Hamleys Toy Stores From Chinese Group

India’s Reliance Industries To Purchase Hamleys Toy Stores From Chinese Group
India’s Reliance industries has agreed to take over the British high street icon Hamleys, which is the oldest toy retailer of the world and which is currently owned by the Chinese.
The 250-year-old toy chain is currently owned by Hong Kong-listed C Banner International Holdings Ltd and an agreement to buy it was signed recently by Reliance Industries and the deal would be completed through Reliance Brands, a subsidiary of the Indian conglomerate, announced Reliance late on Thursday.
Trading of the stocks of C Banner was suspended pending an announcement on Friday. .
While the value of the deal was not disclosed by Reliance, in its annual report, C Banner wrote off $49.8 million in goodwill and brand value related to Hamleys in 2018. The cut reduced the carrying value of the toy retailer by 36% to 626 million yuan ($91.85 million).
Hamleys was purchased from France’s Groupe Ludendo by the Chinese group in 2015 for 100 million pounds ($130.2 million). However the company has since lost interest in British acquisitions. For example, its plans to acquire 51% of House of Fraser was cancelled by the company last year which resulted in the U.K. department store chain being sent into administration because financial paucity.
The first venture of in an overseas retail brand by Reliance Industries, owned by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, is marked by the conglomerate’s this acquisition.
The largest single-location crude oil refinery in the world is owned and run by Reliance Industries and has in recent years ventured into retail and telecommunications to transform into a consumer-facing behemoth.
“The worldwide acquisition of the iconic Hamleys brand and business places Reliance into the frontline of global retail,” said Reliance Brands Chief Executive Darshan Mehta.
The flagship Regent Street store in central London of Hamley’s is recognized around the world and the company, founded in 1760, is popular among children as well adults. Reliance said that Hemley’s has business operations in 18 countries through 167 stores and a majority of them are in India. Currently, 88 stores in 29 Indian cities are operated by the Indian company, which is already the holder of the master franchise for the brand in India.
The latest major venture of Reliance Industries was into telecom and has transformed itself into one of the leading mobile telecoms player in India. The company now wants to rivals the likes of Inc and Walmart Inc in India and is finalizing plans to launch an online e=-commerce platform to augment its traditional retail outlets.
In terms of revenue and number of physical stores, Reliance is already the country’s biggest bricks-and-mortar retailer.
The conglomerate’s quarterly profits were driven to record highs because its fast-growing telecoms and retail operations which were part of its strategy to diversify from the refining and petrochemicals. The recent global oil price fall and global slowdown in oil demand has hurt the gross refining margins of the company and the diversified subsidiaries have managed to offset those losses.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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