Hong Kong (ots/PRNewswire) -
- Integrates the Largest Frame Manufacturer in Asia with the Most
Powerful Value Proposition in the US Retail Market
Moulin International Holdings Limited ("Moulin" / the
"Group")(stock code: 389), a global leader in the manufacturing,
distribution and retailing of eyewear, today announced that it has
signed an agreement to acquire a controlling interest of
approximately 56% in Eye Care Centers of America ("ECCA"), the second
largest optical retail chain in the United States. The transaction
was signed in partnership with Golden Gate Capital ("GGC"), a San
Francisco based private equity firm, which will own approximately 43%
of the company. The remaining shares will be held by ECCA management.
ECCA, the largest "pure play" independent optical retail chain in the
US, operates 378 stores in 33 states and has achieved a first or
second share position in all of its top ten markets.
Under the terms of the agreement, Moulin and Golden Gate Capital
will purchase ECCA from Thomas H. Lee Partners for a total
consideration of US$450 million. The transaction, which is subject to
regulatory as well as Moulin shareholder approval, is expected to
close in the first quarter of 2005.
Mr. Ma Bo Kee, Chairman of Moulin, said, "For more than forty
years Moulin has built its business on the back of pioneering 'first
steps' in the optical industry. In the 1980's, Moulin responded to
growing international demand by becoming the first Hong Kong optical
company to transfer its manufacturing operations to China. At the end
of the 1990's, Moulin responded to changes in the OEM-ODM market by
becoming the first China manufacturer to successfully acquire its own
international brands and worldwide distribution network. Now, in
response to rapid market consolidation, Moulin has become the first
Chinese manufacturer-distributor to acquire a controlling interest in
a major US retail chain. Our management team has been bred on
evolutionary challenges and I am confident that the investment in
ECCA will represent a solid platform for long-term growth and
leadership in our rapidly changing industry."
Mr. Cary Ma, Chief Executive Officer of Moulin, said, "The rapid
consolidation of the US retail market will have a substantial impact
on manufacturing and distribution businesses throughout the entire
optical industry. To succeed in today's optical industry, companies
must evolve and capitalize on the right growth opportunities.
Moulin's expertise in China manufacturing and global distribution is
uniquely well-suited to support ECCA's aggressive growth strategy in
the consolidating US retail market."
In response to the company's future plans, Cary Ma concluded that
"Moulin has an excellent relationship with the management team of
ECCA and our collective focus on the value segment makes for a strong
strategic fit. Moulin has always been dedicated to leveraging its
strengths in cutting-edge design, low cost manufacturing and
streamlined supply chain operations to offer the best overall value
proposition in the optical industry. ECCA's retail growth strategy is
rooted in offering consumers the best optical buying experience for
their money, based on a combination of market-leading service, frame
selection and lens technologies. Given our complimentary strengths
and similar strategic vision, we expect that this combination will
generate significant value for our customers and shareholders."
J.P. Morgan Securities served as exclusive financial advisor and
private equity placement agent to Moulin International and JPMorgan
Chase Bank has provided a commitment for up to US$340 million to
finance the acquisition and provide for ongoing working capital
needs. Allen & Overy LLP and White & Case LLP served as Moulin's
Moulin is engaged in the design, manufacture, distribution and
retail of quality eyewear products to customers worldwide. The Group
consists of a comprehensive global distribution network operating in
over seventy countries worldwide, driven by major market subsidiaries
in Europe, the United States and the Asia Pacific region. Moulin is
the largest eyewear manufacturer in Asia and the third largest
worldwide, with production volumes exceeding fifteen million frames
per year. Founded in 1960, Moulin is headquartered in Hong Kong and
is one of the constituent stocks on the Hang Seng HK SmallCap Index
and Hang Seng Consumer Goods Index under the Hang Seng Composite
Index. For more information, please visit http://www.moulin.com.hk .
About Golden Gate Capital
Golden Gate Capital is a San Francisco-based private equity
investment firm with approximately US$2.5 billion of capital under
management. GGC is dedicated to partnering with world class
management teams to invest in change-intensive, growth businesses.
They target investments of up to US$100 million in situations where
there is a demonstrable opportunity to significantly enhance a
company's value. The principals of GGC have a long and successful
history of investing with management partners across a wide range of
industries and transaction types, including leveraged buyouts,
recapitalizations, corporate divestitures and spin-offs, build-ups
and venture stage investing.
About Eye Care Centers of America
With 378 stores in 33 states, Eye Care Centers of America, Inc. is
the second largest retail optical chain in the U.S. The company's
brand names include EyeMasters, Binyon's, Visionworks, Hour Eyes, Dr.
Bizer's VisionWorld, Dr. Bizer's ValueVision, Doctor's ValuVision,
Stein Optical, Vision World, Doctor's VisionWorks, and Eye DRx.
Founded in 1984, the company is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas.
For media enquiries, please contact:
Strategic Financial Relations Limited
Esther Chan / Mandy Go / Olivia Lam
Tel: +852-2864-4825 / +852-2864-4812 / +852-2864-4890
Fax: +852-2804-2789 / +852-2527-1196
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com /
Web Site: http://www.moulin.com.hk
ots Originaltext: Moulin International Holdings Limited
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