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L'Occitane's Owner Decides Against Deal to Take Company Private

Sept 4 (Reuters) - Hong Kong-listed skincare specialist L'Occitane International SA said on Monday its controlling shareholder had decided against a potential deal to take the company private, curbing speculation of a possible European listing.

L'Occitane updated the market last month about a potential buyout offer from Chairman Reinold Geiger's investment holding company, L'Occitane Groupe SA, at no less than HK$26.00 ($3.32) per share.

Sources had earlier told Reuters that Geiger had also been speaking to advisers about the possibility of re-listing the skincare products group on a European exchange as soon as next year.

Hong Kong has recently emerged as an epicentre of buyout deals, with a range of companies having depressed valuations.

Imax Corp, the big-screen cinema company, is set to assume full control of its listed Chinese entity, while snack maker Dali Foods Group also received a takeover proposal in June.

L'Occitane Groupe SA owned 72.5% of the skincare firm at the end of May.

The company is listed in Hong Kong at a time when a number of firms from the West are looking to boost exposure to the rapidly growing Chinese market.

Shares in the Luxembourg- and Geneva-headquartered company were placed on a trading halt on Monday.

It applied for a resumption of trading in its shares on the stock exchange alongside the update to the market.

Last month Bloomberg News reported that Geiger was discussing a possible offer of about HK$35 for each L'Occitane share he doesn't already own.

The company later clarified that if a deal were to go through, the potential offer price would be no less than HK$26.00 per share.

L'Occitane listed in Hong Kong in 2010, and at the time was one of the first western companies to sell its primary shares in the Asian financial hub.

($1 = 7.8344 Hong Kong dollars)

Reporting by Rishav Chatterjee and Himanshi Akhand in Bengaluru; Editing by David Goodman, David Holmes and Jan Harvey

Source: Reuters

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