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Local fashion house targets W60b IPO despite COVID impact

The Nature Holdings CEO Park Young-jun speaks at a briefing in Seoul on Monday. (The Nature Holdings)
The Nature Holdings CEO Park Young-jun speaks at a briefing in Seoul on Monday. (The Nature Holdings)

The Nature Holdings, a lifestyle outdoor firm known for its National Geographic licensed fashion brand, said Monday it is looking to raise as much as 60 billion won ($50.2 million) from its initial public offering on the tech-heavy Kosdaq this month.

The firm is offering around 1.2 million shares in the price band of 45,000-50,000 won, CEO Park Young-jun said in a press briefing. The exact share price will be determined Thursday through the book building process before investors can apply on July 15-16.

The IPO proceeds will be used to expand overseas business by setting up joint ventures in countries such as Australia, Japan, China, India and the US from the second half of this year. To do so, the firm will also build an additional logistics center and a main headquarters building.

“After the listing, we will strengthen our online channels to raise profitability and expand business in the global market to be the greatest lifestyle outdoor company based on the previous success we made with the local brand licensing,” Park said.

The 16-year-old lifestyle outdoor firm has diversified its portfolio, from clothing, shoes, backpack and luggage to kids’ apparel, building a loyal customer base in their 20s and 30s.

The Nature Holdings has signed a license agreement with National Geographic, a joint venture between The Walt Disney Co. and the National Geographic Society, National Geographic Partners, in 2013 to use the name for its apparel brand. National Geographic as an apparel brand was launched in 2016 and entered Hong Kong and Taiwan by establishing a subsidiary firm and opening stores last year.

The company also entered the luggage business in cooperation with US fashion house Vera Wang in 2017 and US automobile brand Jeep last year. The firm has launched new apparel label National Football League in May also under a license agreement.

The decision came amid the global apparel industry being hit hard by COVID-19. The company, however, expressed confidence, saying its sales and operating profit marked 49.9 billion won and 8.1 billion won, respectively, up 47.2 percent and 50 percent from a year earlier. The firm is expected to reach its highest profit this year, according to Park.

The Nature Holdings’ foray into global market is crucial, as it has transformed traditional outdoor fashion to urban casual style, the firm’s CEO said. By introducing its various hottest selling apparel across Asia, the US and Europe, it hopes to fulfill customers’ needs around the globe.

“We think now is the right time to expand our business globally. Based on our successful portfolio, we were able to reshape the fashion market. From now on, we will accelerate our growth momentum as a leading lifestyle firm,” Park added.

By Jie Ye-eun (