9 of 2021

                                                                                                             

                                                              Newsletter No. 09 / 19 March 2021                          

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Lectra enters into a Memorandum of Understanding to acquire GerberTechnology

By uniting, the two companies would become the ultimate Industry 4.0 partner for their customers.

Lectra  announces its plan to  acquire the entire capital and  voting rights of  US-based Gerber  Technology A key Industry 4.0  player  in the fashion, automotive  and furniture industries, Lectra designs smart  industrial  solutions  –  software, equipment, data and services – that help brands, manufacturers and retailers develop, produce and market their products.

The acquisition, if and when consummated, would al ow Lectra to complement its market position and continue to enhance its offerings based on Industry 4.0 technology that will enable its customers to boost the productivity and profitability  of their  operations. After the  French work  council  of Lectra is  consulted and the  binding documentation is signed, completion of the acquisition shall remain subject to merger control clearance and other customary conditions and shall be submitted to Lectra shareholders for approval.

The proposed combination would occur at an opportune time for both companies and their customers. The current uncertain economic  climate and unprecedented  challenges  that fashion, automotive and furniture companies are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic make it more important than ever for them to transform, digitalize and optimize their operations.

For over 50 years, Gerber Technology has used its proprietary technologies and deep domain expertise to provide integrated software and automated hardware solutions to companies around the world, including over 100 Fortune 500 companies in 134 countries.

The strategic combination of Gerber Technology and Lectra will create a premier advanced technology partner,able to quickly meet changing customer needs and deliver even more value through seamlessly integrated solutions. Together, the two companies will have a large instal ed base of product development software and automated cutting solutions in operation, with a worldwide presence and a long list of prestigious customers.

Consolidating the two companies’ research and development capabilities will enable the combined company to accelerate development of Industry 4.0 technologies and help its expanded customer base seize the full potential of these innovations.

“It has been an honor to lead the transformation of Gerber Technology and create an efficient, comprehensive platform that enables our customers’ digital transformation initiatives. Gerber Technology and Lectra share along history of innovation and excellent customer service that, brought together, will create an even stronger company that provides best-in-class technology solutions and services to our customers global y,” says Mohit Uberoi, Chief Executive Officer, Gerber Technology.

The combined company’s broader global reach will allow it to boost service capabilities to customers around the world thanks to greater resources and the joint force of Gerber Technology and Lectra’s sales and support teams.

Integrating the technology of the two companies will endow them with the resources to anticipate and address rapidly changing market conditions.

“Today is a historic day for our companies that will bring tremendous opportunities for future growth. We will have investments in innovation and technological capabilities that wil  be highly beneficial to the industry. They will allow us to create long-term value for our customers and our shareholders,” states Daniel Harari, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Lectra.  “We’re delighted to  welcome  Gerber Technology’s  group of talented professionals to the Lectra team. Unifying the two teams will showcase the strength of our fantastic employees. Together, we will be able to grow and expand the services we provide  to  our  customers  and  help them accelerate their digital transformation.”

Key transaction terms 

Under the proposed acquisition, Lectra would acquire al  outstanding shares of Gerber Technology on a cash-free debt-free basis for an upfront payment of 175 million euros – through a combination of cash and debt – plus 5 million newly issued Lectra shares to AIPCF VI LG Funding, LP (“AIPCF VI LG”), an affiliate of American Industrial Partners that is Gerber Technology’s sole shareholder. This would represent a total amount of about 300 million euros based on Lectra’s closing share price on February 5, 2021. No contingent consideration is contemplated.

Gerber Technology’s revenues was 165 million euros in 2020.

Thanks to the strong value creation deriving from significant synergies, Lectra expects the transaction to be accretive for shareholders from 2022.

Upon closing, Daniel Harari would own c. 14.6% of the Lectra shares and AIPCF VI LG would own c. 13.3%.

Lectra’s Board of Directors would welcome a director representing AIPCF VI LG.

Daniel Harari would continue to be the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lectra. Gerber Technology Chief Executive Officer, Mohit Uberoi, would assume special advisor to Daniel Harari role until end-2021.

Lectra’s shareholders would be invited to vote on the issuance of the 5 million new Lectra shares reserved to AIPCF VI LG at a dedicated Extraordinary Shareholders’ Meeting which is currently expected to be held on April 30, 2021. A report containing additional information will  be made available to the shareholders prior to the Extraordinary Shareholders’ Meeting.

Lazard is acting as exclusive financial advisor to Lectra, and Latham & Watkins as legal counsel to Lectra.

Goldman Sachs is acting as exclusive financial advisor to AIPCF VI LG, and Ropes & Gray LLP, Baker BottsLLP and Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I. as legal counsel to AIPCF VI LG.

2020 results, update on the 2020-2022 strategic roadmap and guidance for the coming years wil  be disclosedon February 10, 2021.

Lectra management will discuss the transaction, provide forward-looking guidance for the combined company upon closing of the transaction and answer questions from the financial community during the February 11, 2021 webcast Analyst Conference meeting in French starting at 8:30 am (CET – Paris).

       About Lectra

For companies that breathe life into our wardrobes, car interiors, furniture and  more, Lectra is crafting the premium technologies that facilitate the digital transformation of their industry. Lectra’s offer empowers brands, manufacturers and retailers from design to production, providing them with the market respect and peace of mind they deserve. Founded in 1973, today Lectra has 34 subsidiaries across the globe, serving customers in over 100 countries. With close to 1,800 employees, Lectra reported revenues of 280 million euros in 2019. Lectra is listed on Euronext (LSS).

For more information, please visit www.lectra.com.

Loskop Cotton Gin under new management

 Johan Wolhuter, Jannie Terblanche and Louis Olivier

The management of Vaalharts Cotton, located in Hartswater, officially took over the management of the Loskop Cotton Gin in Marble Hall on Friday 12 March 2021. The cotton gin in Marble Hall will, during this transition period, be known as Vaalharts – Loskop Cotton. Vaalharts Cotton’s managing director, Louis Olivier and the chief financial officer, Johan Wolhuter, will also fulfil these respective roles at the “new” Vaalharts – Loskop Cotton. Louis Olivier has nine years of experience in running a cotton gin. He is a qualified agriculturist with 30-years of experience in the cotton industry, both as a farmer and a businessman. Johan Wolhuter is financially qualified and has been handling the financial management function at Vaalharts for the past two years.

All liabilities up to and including 12 March 2021, which were served under the previous management, will be managed accordingly on merit. The gin will continue to operate without any interruption in any of the services. The current rumours that Loskop Gin is closing its doors are therefore unfounded.

Vaalharts Cotton and Vaalharts – Loskop Cotton will be managed as two independent business units, each with its own board of directors.

Louis Olivier says he is well aware of the historical challenges that need to be addressed. However, he is optimistic that the South African cotton industry is core healthy, and with the application of a successful Vaalharts business model, they will once again develop the gin in Marble Hall to new heights. The Loskop Cotton Gin was upgraded in 2018. This upgrade brought its own challenges, which, along with Covid, forced the board to rethink the management of the gin. The board of directors, chaired by Jannie Terblanche, is satisfied that the processes to sort out the problems are in place and that relationships will be restored to stimulate the growth of the local cotton industry anew. Mr Terblanche said that he and the board of directors are grateful for the expertise Vaalharts Cotton brings to the table and for their willingness to assist the Loskop directors with their new strategic journey. He looks forward to the collaboration for the benefit of the greater cotton industry.

Louis Olivier believes in a transparent management style with open communication between the gin, the producers and all the role players in the cotton pipeline. He is convinced that cooperation and trust between role players is the basis on which the industry must build its success.

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Connecting the Indian Ocean & African Textile & Apparel industry to the world

Abana is a new online textile and apparel platform for the Southern African region, the main objectives of which being to leverage the digital space to connect buyers and sellers, develop local and international trade, and grow demand for local, regional, and African production whilst taking advantage of Africa’s duty-free entry into the EU, US & African markets.

The Abana Digital Marketplace, therefore, consists of a database of buyers and sellers from across the world creating a virtual space for buyers and sellers to advertise opportunities & post requests.

Why Africa?

Economic – Diversify your supply chain & protect it from geo-political risks.

Environmental – Consumers & investors are demanding ethical practices. Africa is a dynamic opportunity to re-imagine the supply chain with emerging compliant and forward-thinking players in the region.

Social -Africa has a wealth of textile expertise & cultural heritage waiting to be tapped into. Be on the forefront of social change & provide opportunities to positively impact communities

Countries part of Abana

The following countries are currently part of the Abana network:

Producing countries

Mauritius, Madagascar, Morocco, South Africa,

Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana, Tanzania,

Tunisia, Egypt, Ethiopia

Coming soon: Kenya, Uganda

Buying Markets

USA, UK, Germany, Austria, Switzerland,

Benelux, Scandinavia, Italy, Eastern Europe,

Russia, South Africa

Coming soon: France, Portugal

How can Abana work for you

The Abana digital marketplace will enable South Africa manufacturing companies to access a new international customer network and to develop new export markets and client opportunities in both the clothing and footwear sectors.
This includes local companies who currently are, or are looking at developing their export potential such as: local manufacturers, fabric suppliers, accessory suppliers, and other service providers.

Manufacturers-

Search our worldwide database consisting of Buyers, Input suppliers & Service providers (logistics, finance, QA, consulting, etc.)

Connect with the whole apparel ecosystem

  • buyers
  • garment makers
  • raw material suppliers (yarn, trims, accessories)
  • service providers (logistics, insurance, finance, etc.)
  • Discover new non-traditional small & medium local retailers
  • Digitalise your business to expand operational effectiveness & accessibility

Retail companies-

  • Source suitable new local, regional, and African suppliers.
  • Access new product ranges through the Abana drops and tailor-made ranges suitable in your preferred order quantities.
  •  a continuous seasonless offer of responsibly sourced sophisticated styles in low MOQs that are ready-to-ship.

In addition to accessing the Abana supplier database, you will also be able to access value added services for on the ground support like compliance management, QA, In-line QC, AQL, critical path management, merchandising, sourcing – all these can be tailored to your specific needs / requirements.

What is needed to be part of Abana

In keeping with Abana’s social compliance vision of supporting and promoting sustainable development in the African apparel ecosystem, the Abana supplier validation process ensures that all suppliers marketed on the platform are properly screened, vetted, and based on buyer’s requirements, the platform ensures that all the necessary compliance and qualifying criteria is met and maintained.

Thus, to become a member as a garment maker or input supplier, prospective businesses should have an up-to-date compliant certificate.

Certifications recognised are listed below, whilst any other valid certificate will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

BSCI, B Corporation, SMETA, SA8000, Fairwear, ISO, WRAP

The Abana platform and solution could not have been launched at a better time and we are sure this can be of immense benefit to retail companies by developing their local and regional sourcing footprint while offering new export markets for local manufacturing companies in this new digital environment.

For more information log onto www.Abana.mu

Woolworths – completion of the sale

Further to the announcement published by the Company on the Stock Exchange News Service on 21 December 2020 with regard to the sale of the David Jones Properties Pty Limited Elizabeth Street property (Property Sale), WHL is pleased to announce that the condition precedent to the Property Sale has been fulfilled and the transaction has been completed.

In accordance with the previous announcement, the proceeds of the Property Sale have been applied towards the repayment of debt in Australia, pursuant to the WHL Board’s review of the capital structure of the Australian entities. In addition, the Property Sale and refinancing have facilitated the separation of the combined Australian debt and financing facilities of the David Jones Pty Limited (“David Jones”) and Country Road Group Pty Limited (CRG) groups, inclusive of the termination of the cross guarantees between the two groups. The David Jones and CRG groups are now financed separately, save for immaterial support from David Jones to CRG as a result of the total proceeds of the Property Sale being received in David Jones. This support is expected to be unwound in the near term.

Mr Price – acquisition of Yuppiechef

Mr Price announced that it has entered into an agreement to purchase 100% of the issued share capital of the group of companies comprising the Yuppiechef business (“Yuppiechef”), a privately-owned South African omni-channel retail business primarily focused on kitchenware.

Yuppiechef was founded in 2006 with a vision to build a platform for the distribution of aspirational kitchen and homeware brands. The business has two primary operations, namely: Yuppiechef Online, the retail division comprising the online platform and 7 stores, as well as a wholesale division, which develops, and imports branded goods for wholesale distribution. It commenced operations as a pure e-commerce company and since 2017 has transitioned into an omni-channel retail platform. The retail division represents 85% of turnover (70% via e- commerce) and has been a pioneer of online retail in South Africa, consistently winning awards throughout its history. Most recently in 2019, Yuppiechef was voted ‘Digital Company of the Year’ at the South African National Business awards and ‘Best Independent Retailer Store Design’ at the SACSC Retail Design & Development awards.

Strategically aligned
In November 2020, Mr Price communicated its ambitions to invest in growth opportunities in specific segments of the market through both organic and acquisitive growth avenues. These opportunities are informed by an extensive period of research which the group believes will shape its future growth trajectory. Within the homeware market, the opportunity to gain access to a higher LSM customer base, enabling growth of its share-of-wallet through aspirational value spending, was identified.

Meets investment criteria
The group’s strict investment criteria, which have been previously communicated, continue to guide its capital allocation decisions and have been applied with the same disciplined approach in the case of Yuppiechef. This will enable Mr Price to expand in South Africa, in line with its strategic objectives, through an established, high-growth omni-channel brand. Profitability is a key factor in the group’s consideration of any venture, and it is satisfied with Yuppiechef’s positive bottom-line performance and prospects for margin expansion.

Implementation
The purchase consideration, which represents approximately 1% of market capitalisation, will be settled in cash. The targeted effective date is subject to the fulfilment of both regulatory and commercial suspensive conditions which includes competition authority approval. The Yuppiechef management team will continue to run the business with the full support of the group’s executive team.

Did you know……..

“Volume-based business models simply cannot become sustainable” (Los Angeles Times, 2019)

It’s no secret that fast fashion’s modus operandi is to produce as much as possible as cheaply as possible. To make the fast fashion industry eco-friendly, it needs to focus on quality rather than quantity. You know, like its much nicer counterpart, slow fashion.

“Less than 11% of brands are implementing recycling strategies for their items” (Peppermint Magazine, 2019)

Some fast fashion retailers have introduced recycling programs that give customers a store discount in exchange for their old clothing. Most of these items never get recycled. But, offering discounts does act as a stimulus to drive more sales …

To Advertise…..   Click here to see fact sheet with advertising rates. 

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