Li & Fung, South Ocean join forces

Global supply chain manager Li & Fung has signed a joint venture agreement with Hong Kong knitwear exporter South Ocean Knitters.

Poised to become one of the largest suppliers of knitwear globally, Cobalt Fashion Holding will be 62 per cent owned by Li & Fung and 38 per cent by South Ocean. South Ocean brings yarn development and manufacturing knowhow to the table, while Li & Fung contributes product design and supply-chain innovation.

With a total turnover of about US$700 million, the JV will service brands and retailers at all price levels and in all segments, covering Asian markets including Japan, as well as Europe, the UK and the US.

South Ocean is a subsidiary of Novel Enterprises, which is known for working with brands such as Michael Kors and Tommy Hilfiger. President/CEO Silas Chou says the partnership is an important milestone for the global knitwear industry.

He says South Ocean has had more than 40 years’ experience in supplying international brands and retailers with innovative knitwear. “We see tremendous synergies in the joint venture with Li & Fung. Together we will be driving innovation in the industry and delivering value to our customers.”

“We both have a long history and solid track record, with a strong foundation of product innovation and expertise,” says Li & Fung group chairman William Fung. “We have been steadily investing in deepening our product expertise across our three product verticals – sweaters, beauty and furniture – since 2015.”

Once regulatory approvals have been obtained, the transaction will be closed and the JV established, says Li & Fung.

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