Cortina Holdings has filed its intentions to buy competing Singapore based luxury watch retailer, Sincere Watch for SGD 84.5 million.
Cortina Holdings is publicly listed on Singapore Exchange (SGX) and the purchase sum, which constitutes a major transaction, requires that relevant shareholders’ approval is sought. In doing so, Cortina filed with SGX at 12:04 am local time on November 17, 2020. You can find the filed document, here.
The purchase is being made from Be Bright Limited, an investment arm under the care of Hong Kong businesswoman Pollyanna Chu Yuet Wah, who had purchased Sincere Watch earlier in 2012, for an undisclosed sum.
Prior to Ms Chu acquiring Sincere Watch, the retailer had been purchased by Hong Kong company Peace Mark for SGD 530 million, in 2007, which went bankrupt shortly after. In 2009, an effort led by L Capital and Mr Tay Liam Wee, whose father had established Sincere in 1954 (incorporated and publicly listed in 1977) bought over the company for SGD 112.7 million. Ms Chu purchased Sincere in 2012 from sellers L Capital, various banks and, of course, Mr Tay Liam Wee. The better part of this information is recorded as it played out in 2012, on watchesbysjx.com.
The Sincere Watch Timeline
The SGD 84.5 million sum on the table now represents a discount of about 0.2 per cent from the Sincere Watch’s net tangible assets as at June 30, 2020 (SGD 85,937,368). In spelling out its primary intentions in purchasing Sincere Watch, Cortina’s filing document reads, “The [Cortina Holdings Limited] Board believes that the Proposed Acquisition would provide the Company [Cortina] exclusive distributorship rights to the Franck Muller Brand in 12 countries within Asia Pacific. The Proposed Acquisition will also give the Company access to the Target Group’s [Sincere Watch Limited] arsenal of brands that can be distributed across 40 combined outlets and create operational synergies that will increase the Group’s value to both consumers and business partners.”
Beyond the primary brand in focus for Cortina, Sincere also retails various venerable independent watch brands, such as Greubel Forsey. Sincere operates 18 boutiques constituting a portfolio of brands the likes of A. Lange & Söhne, Audemars PiguetIWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Panerai, Omega, Vacheron Constatin and Tudor.
Sincere also runs runs multi-brand retail outlets in Singapore and Malaysia, and under the Pendulum brand in Thailand. Additionally, Sincere operates mono-brand boutiques for Franck Muller in Australia; A. Lange & Söhne in Malaysia; and A. Lange & Söhne, Breitling and IWC in Thailand.
What remains doing now is a stock-taking and reconciliation exercise involving professional advisors and consultants from both ends. Sincere Watch will also have to start reaching out to its brand owners and landlords for their induvial consents and approval of business transference.
We’ll continue to report on the acquisition as this news develops and the business landscape of multi-brand luxury watch retail in Singapore, changes like never before.