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Venter Announces Acquisition Of Survival Apparel

Venter Announces Acquisition Of Survival Apparel

Outdoor equipment and apparel company Arthur Ellis Limited today announced the purchase of Survival Apparel (Thursday 8 May 2003).

Arthur Ellis, headed by apparel entrepreneur Hugo Venter, owns and manages well known brands such as Fairydown Bedware, Fairydown Adventure, Columbia Sportswear and The Great Outdoors.

Christchurch-based Survival Apparel specialises in 100% merino and thermal base products for the outdoor clothing market, with its Everwarm brand the largest thermal brand in New Zealand outdoor retail.

Arthur Ellis managing director, Hugo Venter, says the acquisition of Survival Apparel opens up a number of opportunities for the company.

"Currently 60% of Survival's turnover is from exports, providing us with considerable opportunities for exposure overseas for our other brands. As well, Survival's products are complementary to our own product ranges," Venter says.

Established in Christchurch in 1985 and owned by managing director Mary Devine and Terry Iggo, Survival Apparel's turnover has doubled in the last three years. Key offshore markets include Japan, Australia, UK, Canada and Chile.

The purchase of Survival Apparel fits well with Venter's vision for Arthur Ellis. "Our objective has always been to achieve growth organically and through acquisition. We are doing well with organic growth and are beginning to achieve our goals in this area.

"The purchase of Survival Apparel provides us with expertise in merino wool and opens up a significant opportunity in the export market for the Survival Merino brand, particularly in the UK and Japan," Venter says.

Survival has recently secured direct distribution into Australia for winter 2003 and Venter says the superfine merino market for outdoor clothing is in a growth phase globally. "Survival Merino is well poised to capitalise on this."

Mary Devine will take a key executive role within Arthur Ellis, which is also hoping to involve Terry Iggo in its business. "We are thrilled to have people of Mary's calibre on board to provide additional expertise and continue to drive growth," Venter says.

Mary Devine was previously with Canterbury International, managing international and marketing and design divisions. Terry Iggo was chairman and managing director of LWR Industries throughout the 90s.

Hugo Venter bought 40% of Arthur Ellis Limited in October last year, with the remaining 60% owned by AMP Henderson Global Investors' Private Capital Fund. One of New Zealand's oldest companies, Arthur Ellis' annual turnover is $50 million.

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