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S. Kumars buys US co Hartmarx; to invest Rs 168 cr

S. Kumars Nationwide, along with its operating partner Emerisque, UK, has acquired Chicago-headquartered Hartmarx Corporation for $119 million (Rs 571 crore).

S. Kumars Nationwide will route its investment of Rs 168 crore through its wholly-owned subsidiary SKNL North America BV, the company said in a statement to the BSE on Saturday.

“The acquisition will enable SKNL Group establish a substantial footprint in the global arena and also bring significant business volumes to the SKNL Group operations in India through a ‘front-end back-end synergy’ strategy,” the company said.

The 120-year-old maker of Hickey Freeman and Hart Schaffner Marx brands has made several suits for the US President, Mr Barack Obama, including the one he wore at his inauguration.

Hartmarx, which has a workforce of 4,000, is one of the largest formal-wear clothing companies in the US and owns or controls (through licences) 34 clothing brands.

Troubled Hartmarx had sought Chapter 11 protection on January 23 amid a group of retail industry bankruptcies brought in by liquidity concern in the credit market, rising unemployment and the economic recession.

The company also blamed changing fashion trends for the fall in its business fortunes.

Emerisque Brands UK and SKNL North America BV in a joint statement on Friday said that the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois approved the sale of substantially all of the assets of Hartmarx Corporation for a total transaction value of about $119 million. The transaction is expected to close on July 7.

“We are confident about returning Hartmarx to profitability and fulfil its potential in the US and the global marketplace with the continued support of all constituencies involved,” the statement said.

Hartmarx has listed assets of $483 million and debt of $261 million as of October 9, 2008. The company said it owed $113.5 million to banks that gave it bankruptcy financing.

Source: Business Line

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