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Samsonite bets on Asia boom

Luggage maker Samsonite, backed by private equity firm CVC Capital Partners, is betting on booming demand from China, India and other countries in Asia to drive its future growth as the company readies an initial public offering of as much as $1.5 billion in Hong Kong.

The Luxembourg-based company sees its biggest growth potential in China, where it has a 12.5 percent market share, compared with 30-35 percent average in more mature markets, Ramesh Tainwala, president of Samsonite for Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, said on Tuesday.

“Today when we look at our business, Asia starts to become our most important part of the business, partly because of macroeconomic factors,” Tainwala said at a news conference ahead of a store opening in Hong Kong.

“The center of gravity of the wealth of the world is moving toward Asia. There are more and more Asians travelling, so it’s natural for us to expect bigger growth.”

Samsonite, owned by CVC and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) following a debt restructuring last year, gets nearly one-third of its revenue from Asia, he added.

The company last week received Hong Kong stock exchange approval for its IPO, which is being managed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N), HSBC Holdings Plc (0005.HK) (HSBA.L) and Morgan Stanley (MS.N).

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