JD .com and state-owned JIC take 22.36% share in Lagardère TR Asia

By Luke Barras-hill |

The strategic partnership offers a springboard for further growth in China in an accelerating digital retail ecosystem distinguished by efficient operations, consumer insights and customer loyalty.

Powerful Chinese e-commerce player JD .com and public investment firm China Jianyin Investment (JIC) have swooped for a minority stake in Lagardère Travel Retail Asia.

Jointly, JD .com and JIC will pay CNY720 million/$111.5 million for 22.36% of Lagardère Travel Retail Asia’s share capital (post-offering), of which JD .com will hold 18.63% and JIC 3.73%.

In a significant development announced by Lagardère Group today, JD .com and JIC have entered into a strategic partnership to accelerate Lagardère Travel Retail’s growth in North Asia (Mainland China, Hong Kong and Japan), particularly through digital and omni-channel retailing across the duty free, duty paid and travel retail business.

Lagardère Travel Retail will draw on JD .com’s powerful digital experience and logistical expertise to enhance supply chain and data analytics activities, as well as offering new customer propositions and services at airports and railway stations.

Eudes Fabre, CEO for North Asia, Lagardère Travel Retail.

TRANSACTION SCHEDULED TO COMPLETE

The transaction is subject to successful closure and expects to complete in September 2021.

Lagardère Group says cash contributions are expected to have a favourable net effect of approximately €79 million on Group net debt.

Eudes Fabre, CEO for North Asia at Lagardère Travel Retail, said: “Our strategic partnership with JD .com and JIC reflects our ambition to play a leading role in the development of China’s dynamic travel retail sector and contribute to the expansion of the domestic duty free industry.

“The expertise of our partners will help position us for the next phase of growth in the region while creating exciting new possibilities for our customers and partners in the region. The growth of domestic consumption in China and the digitalisation of the travel experience are powerful and positive trends for our business in the years to come.”

Dag Rasmussen, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Lagardère Travel Retail, added: “We are very pleased to announce this strategic alliance with prestigious partners which will be transformative for our operations in China and will benefit our global travel retail network through increased digitalisation, omni-channel shopping experiences and best practices in supply chain management.

“Beyond commercial opportunities, Lagardère Travel Retail, JD.com and JIC have a shared commitment to making positive contributions to society through inclusiveness and sustainability which makes this partnership even more meaningful.”

Simon Han, Vice President of JD .com, said: “Our strategic cooperation with Lagardère Travel Retail can enhance our respective strengths and bring mutual benefits, allowing us to explore more opportunities in the travel retail sector. At the same time, we will join hands to develop a comprehensive cooperation that will create richer shopping choices and a better experience for customers.”

JD .com’s technology-driven infrastructure and supply chain offers same-day and next-day delivery  to almost all of China’s population. Source: Shutterstock.com/Freer.

Zhengwei Hu, Vice President and Head of Strategic Investment of JD .com, added: “We are pleased to become a strategic partner of Lagardère Travel Retail, a global leader in its sector. We will use the synergies generated by our respective advantages to jointly promote the digital transformation of the duty-free and travel retail industries, creating a supply chain system with higher efficiency and a better shopping experience.”

At present, Lagardère Travel Retail North Asia has operations in 32 airports and 28 high-speed rail stations with a network of 480 stores across all segments (Travel Essentials, Duty Free & Fashion and Foodservice).

The operations generated total revenue of €148 million last year. The company entered Mainland China in 2007 and Japan in 2020.

Last year, JD .com made its mark in Sanya, Hainan by opening a duty free shop in collaboration with Hainan Tourism and Investment Development Co in line with the expansion of the burgeoning free trade port.

Stay close to TRBusiness for further commentary on the agreement.

For more on Lagardere Travel Retail’s strategic development plans for China’s railway network, click here.

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