Ekornes had UK sales of around £19m last year
Chinese furniture maker and retailer Qumei is to buy Norway's Ekornes — owner of the Stressless recliner brand — in a deal worth the equivalent of £472 million.


The board of Ekornes have recommended shareholders approve the deal, which values the group at 5.1 billion Norwegian kroner, a premium of more than 28 percent on its average share price over the past two months.

Qumei Home Furnishing Group Co. is a vertically-integrated Chinese designer, maker and retailer of furniture.

It first tried to buy Ekornes more than a year ago, with the two companies having held talks on numerous occasions since. Qumei plans to expand its retail network in China with an additional 500 independent stores and 1,500-2,000 shop in shop stores over the next five years.

The group, whose shares are listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, will part-fund the deal through the issue of new shares.

"This agreement opens new growth opportunities for Ekornes and our renowned brands such as Stressless and IMG in China and in existing markets," said says Mr Olav Holst-Dyrnes, CEO of Ekornes.

He added: "Qumei is a leading furniture group with more than 850 stores in China. We will benefit from Qumei's insight into Chinese consumers' design and product preferences and gain accelerated access to the Chinese market."

Ruihai Zhao, Qumei chairman and general manager, said: "We look forward to introducing Ekornes' brands to the rapidly growing Chinese furniture market."

Mr. Zhao, who is is expected to become Ekornes chairman following the deal, added: "The acquisition of the company is in line with our global strategy and the first crucial step in Qumei's globalisation efforts."

"We put great emphasis on protecting the value of the Ekornes brands and we intend for Ekornes to remain an independent business, which will continue to be run out of Sykkylven.

"We do not believe in a model where the manufacturing process of international brands is moved to China. Qumei will maintain and invest in Ekornes' current production facilities in Norway and internationally and we will work closely with Ekornes to further develop its business, through sharing of Qumei's advanced Internet marketing technology."

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