Columbia Sportswear launches joint venture with partner in China — Swire Resources

Columbia Sportswear launches joint venture with partner in China — Swire Resources

Columbia Sportswear recently launched a joint venture with Swire Resources Ltd., a partnership the Washington County outdoor footwear and apparel brand expects to boost profitability in China.

“We are very pleased with the official launch of this new joint venture, marking the beginning of a new and deeper level of cooperation with Swire Resources,” Columbia chief executive Tim Boyle said in a prepared statement.

Columbia announced the partnership in August 2012. Samson Wong, a 29-year Swire Resources veteran, will be president of the joint venture — Columbia Sportswear Commercial (Shanghai) Company — headquartered in Shanghai.

Swire Resources Ltd., a subsidiary of Swire Pacific Limited, has operated as Columbia’s exclusive independent distributor of Columbia and Mountain Hardwear branded products in China since 2004, and in Hong Kong and Macau since 2002. Swire will continue to be the Hong Kong and Macau distributor.

That network consists of 51 wholesale dealers that at year’s end operated approximately 660 Columbia Sportswear retail locations and 47 Mountain Hardwear retail locations in 180 cities. In addition, the joint venture directly operates approximately 70 Columbia branded retail locations in 7 cities. (That’s about 130 more Columbia retail locations and 45 more cities than when the partnership was announced.)

Swire Resources’ 2011 Columbia sales in China totaled approximately $123 million. Sales are on pace to achieve double digit growth in 2012 and future plans include continued expansion of dealer-operated and owned retail locations in additional cities.

Columbia owns 60 percent of the joint venture, which has an initial term of 20 years. Its financial results will be consolidated in Columbia’s operating results and financial position beginning with the first quarter.

Also today, Columbia announced it would unveil the 2014 Olympic uniforms for the U.S., Canadian and Russian freestyle ski teams Wednesday at a press conference at Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah.

— Allan Brettman