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Central Group and Signa confirm Globus Switzerland deal

Thailand’s Central Group and Austrian property developer Signa have confirmed plans to acquire the luxury Swiss department-store chain Globus and eight associated property assets.

The deal expands the two companies’ existing 50-50 joint venture which owns the German department-store chain KaDeWe and is working on projects in Vienna and Dusseldorf. Central Group also owns Italy’s Rinascente and Denmark’s Illum stores.

Tos Chirathivat, executive chairman and CEO at Central Group, says the US$1 billion deal includes “prime Swiss properties” and a hotel and makes Central Group “one of the largest luxury retailers in Europe”.

“Since entering Europe in 2011 by Rinascente acquisition, our business in Europe has grown from €200 million to a projected €2 billion this year. Today, we are operating 19 cities in five European countries, plus two under development, eight of which will be flagship stores.

Vittorio Radice, CEO of Central Group Europe, described Globus as “a wonderful brand very close to our hearts”.

“As a historic Swiss brand, Globus is a perfect fit for our European alliance with strong local presence and great international recognition. By working together, we will guarantee Globus and the rest of our brands a solid, sustainable and successful future.”

Fabrice Zumbrunnen, chairman of the vendor Migros-Genossenschafts-Bund (MGB) said Central and Signa offered a strong commitment and optimal conditions for a successful future for Globus.

“I am convinced that Globus will be able to benefit from their extensive know-how and substantial experience in the realignment of premium and luxury department stores.”

Radice says Central and Signa plan to develop Globus into the leading luxury department-store group in Switzerland with a strong national identity by means of rapid integration and sustainable repositioning.

“Working with the KaDeWe Group, Rinascente and Illum, Globus will benefit from the know-how and experience necessary to develop and drive the department store of today. Together we will implement our successful business model at Globus, assuring the premier role in delivering Swiss excellence for local customers and international visitors.

He said the brand was hugely popular among Swiss consumers, had highly motivated and experienced employees, an excellent loyalty programme and competency in a broad range of categories, including deli, home and beauty, as well as unique locations.

Radice will take the helm of the new acquisition, and Thomas Herbert, currently Globus’ CEO, will join the board. Franco Savastano, currently deputy CEO, will take over day to day operations as CEO.

The deal, while signed, awaits approval by European competition authorities.

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