Chinese investment group Fortune Fountain Capital (FFC) has announced that it has signed an agreement to buy a controlling stake in French crystal maker Baccarat from US investment firms Starwood Capital Group and L Catterton.
Under the binding agreement, FFC will pay EUR 222.70 per share, valuing the 88.8% stake at EUR 164 million (EUR 184 million).
The acquisition of the renowned Paris-based firm, founded in 1764, is another illustration of the growing weight of Chinese investments in France, whose tourist and wine industries have a great appeal in the world’s second-biggest economy.
The price reflects a 2.1% premium compared with Baccarat’s closing stock price on 18 May. Press reports then about a potential sale of the company triggered a spike in the share price, which closed at EUR 259.90 on Thursday.
Baccarat turned a profit for the first time in four years in 2016. Its revenue over the period amounted to EUR 148.3 million with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) of EUR 12.9 million.
“The acquisition… will enable Baccarat to accelerate its strategic international plans, including expansion into emerging markets such as Asia and the Middle East, as well as continued growth across existing developed markets, particularly North America,” FFC said in a statement.
The Chinese financial firm said it would keep the current workforce and management, including chief executive Daniela Riccardi.
Chinese investors poured a record USD 23 billion into Europe in 2015, including USD 3.6 billion in France, the number three destination for Chinese deals after Britain and Germany, according to a research report by US law firm Baker & McKenzie.
China’s Fosun took control of French holiday group Club Med in 2015 and is in talks to buy a stake in French ski resorts operator Compagnie des Alpes.
Jin Jiang International also bought Europe’s second-biggest budget operator Louvre Hotels for EUR 1.3 billion in 2015.

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