French sport group Rossignol sells 20% stake to IDG Capital, targets China roll-out

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Nicola Mira
today Jun 5, 2018
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French sport group Rossignol, ever since being bought by powerful Scandinavian investment fund Altor five years ago, has deployed an impressive growth strategy based on external acquisitions. While the Rossignol brand added a new string to its bow, a ready-to-wear line with ambitious plans, supported by a Milan-based creative studio and an organisation led by Alessandro Locatelli, the group has primarily strengthened its position in its core business, outdoor sports. In recent years, Rossignol bought Raidlight-Vertical, specialised in trail running, Felt Bicycles and Time in the cycling segment, and more recently Dale of Norway, renowned for its winter sportswear.

Martin Fourcade, French biathlon champion and one of Rossignol's brand ambassadors - Rossignol Apparel

Following this flurry of acquisitions, Rossignol is now entering a new expansion phase. After IDG Capital, a leading foreign investment firm in China, acquired a 20% stake in the group, Rossignol is clearly targeting expansion on the Chinese market. “We are delighted to be able to count on the expertise and experience of IDG Capital,” said Bruno Cercley, CEO of the Rossignol group. “Together, we have a unique opportunity for catering to a new generation of winter sport enthusiasts in China. We are especially keen to contribute to the growth of the outdoor sports market in the region, and to play a decisive role in it. The context is extremely favourable: the [Chinese] government is very active on this front, and there is growing consumer demand as the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic games draw closer,” added Cercley.

Rossignol’s new partners IDG Capital emphasised the potential there is for the French group in China: “By 2025, the winter sport market in China is expected to be worth CNY100 billion, equivalent to €13.7 billion.” Based on figures from a PwC survey, IDG Capital indicated that the winter sport equipment market could be worth €2.1 billion.

“Rossignol has at its disposal a portfolio of international brands with exceptional experience, expertise and technology,” said Alexandre de Quirici, a partner at IDG Capital. “We can’t wait to work closely with the Rossignol group on its future roll-out in China, a market in which we are highly experienced and where winter sports, and outdoor activities in general, are becoming increasingly popular,” added de Quirici.

IDG Capital was founded in 1992 and has a broad brand portfolio, including stakes in Moncler, Farfetch in the USA and Europe, IT tech group Baidu in China and Flipkart in the Asia-Pacific region. The value of its investment in Rossignol was not disclosed. While Altor retains a majority stake in Rossignol, the French group’s minority shareholders, Weber Investissement, Sandbridge Capital, the Boix-Vives family and the management team, will continue to stay with the group. In the 2016-17 financial year, the French group, owner among others of the Rossignol, Dynastar, Look and Risport brands, recorded a revenue of over €243 million. IDG Capital’s know-how will be crucial to bolster Rossignol’s deployment in China.

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