C.banner International may sell Hamleys

Toy retailer Hamleys looks likely to be sold by Chinese owner C.banner International.

According to Sky News, the company has launched a strategic review of options for Hamleys’ future after receiving several expressions of interest from would-be buyers.

C.banner International has owned Hamley’s for just three years, but the Chinese company has suffered a massive decline in its share price leading to an aborted bid for UK department store House of Fraser.  

At the time the Hong Kong-listed company planned a share issue to raise funds to acquire House of Fraser, it expected to receive between HK$2.40 and $3 per share. In August, when it dropped the plan, its shares were trading at 71 cents and today they are trading at just 56 cents each.

According to Sky News, the prospective bidders have not been named and talks are at a preliminary stage. C.banner has appointed Vermillion Partners to oversee discussions.

In the year to December 31, Hamley’s recorded a loss of £12 million, a heavy reversal from a profit the previous year of £2.6 million. Sales fell 2.5 per cent to £66.3 million.

But the company said it was on track to return to profitability and during the first eight months of this year it achieved 2.7 per cent like-for-like sales growth.

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