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Welspun snaps up Christy

Mumbai – Rapidly growing Welspun India has acquired an 85% interest in CHT Holdings Limited, the parent company of Christy ghmb and Christy USA, Christy UK – the 156-year-old towel manufacturer and the UK’s leading towel brand. The deal was valued at $28.7 million, according to Welspun.

The Christy management team will own the remaining 15% of its company’s shares and will operate on a stand-alone basis. Rajesh Mandawewala, Welspun’s joint managing director, will become chairman of Christy. In the U.S., Christy and Welspun will maintain separate showrooms.

“I think the synergies are good,” said Oliver Newman, Christy’s president. “Christy is seen as an innovator and Welspun seen as innovative from a technology point of view. It gives Welspun a good foot-hold in the European market.”

Christy generates annual revenue of approximately $64.4 million, according to a joint release by the companies. Newman noted that Christy recently rolled out bed linen under its brand in the U.K., and Welspun last year added bedding manufacturing. Earlier this year, Christy launched utility bedding in the United States under a licensing agreement with Down Lite.

In addition to manufacturing Christy branded product, the company also produces and imports private label for leading retailers in the U.K. and Europe. It also operates 22 Christy stores and 98 Christy departments in other retailers.

Welspun, which operates its own stores in India, plans to launch the Christy brand in its home country.

Said Mandawewala: “The acquisition of Christy is in line with Welspun’s strategy of emerging as one of the largest home textiles companies by 2008, with a strong brand portfolio.” Those brands include Tommy Hilfiger for India, and the Nautica and Umbra towel brands for the U.S. and Canadian markets.

Joel Rosenblatt, Christy’s managing director, said the deal will give Christy “the greatest scope for future development, with access to Welspun’s research and development capacities and international presence.

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