Doubts arise over saleability of Dutch high street staple Hema

Photo: Hema
Hema has gone gender neutral. Photo: Deborah Nicholls Lee

The planned sale of Amsterdam-based high street staple Hema is facing a few hurdles the Financieele Dagblad said on Wednesday.

The FD says insiders are claiming that while the timing of a possible sale is excellent, the present owner – British investment fund Lion Capital – may be painting too rosy a picture of the company and therefore expecting too high a price.

Lion Capital acquired Hema in 2007 and has since tried twice to sell it, claiming the returns are too low. But Lion saddled Hema with large debt, pushing the Dutch retailer deep into red figures at the time. The company is now profitable and presents its 2017 annual figures on Thursday.

There are two potential buyers of Hema on the horizon: British-based Clayton Dubilier & Rice and a Dutch consortium headed by Gilde and Alpinvest. The sale price is put at between €1bn and €1.3bn

Hema has expanded outside the Benelux and into France, Germany, Spain and Britain. Three stores will come on stream in Dubai this year with further expansion in the area under consideration in a venture with Dubai-based Apparel Group.

Hema, which only sells own-label products, is regularly cited as one of the biggest Dutch brands and one of the things Dutch expats most miss when they live abroad. Hema now operates more than 700 stores in nine countries, and has a payroll of more than 11,000.

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