Pacific Apparel Solutions (PAS) is fast becoming one of Australia’s largest wholesale apparel companies by today announcing the purchase of Sydney-based company The Hopkins Group for an undisclosed sum.

The Hopkins Group has had long-standing success operating in the domestic apparel sector, producing popular up-market labels such as Marco Polo, Capital M and Sirocco.

The latest acquisition marks the fourth major acquisition by PAS in the past 18 months, reflecting the clear objective of management and majority private equity owner, DB Capital Partners, to fund strategic growth opportunities in Australia’s wholesale apparel sector.

“The purchase of The Hopkins Group now positions PAS as one of the largest wholesale apparel companies in the Australian market, which demonstrates the commitment of our management, Board and major shareholder to create a sustainable, profitable business of high-quality clothing brands,” PAS chief executive officer Eric Morris said today.

“The Hopkins Group met all of our key criteria as a good business for us to acquire. It is a long established, well run business and has great brands that are popular with consumers,” Mr Morris said.

PAS made its first acquisition in late 2004 buying the Yarra Trail business, which supplies a range of fashionable women’s and men’s casual clothing lines under the same label. In addition, a new up-market menswear brand Bureau was recently launched into the market.

In March last year PAS acquired Melbourne based Breakaway, whose main labels include women’s brands Black Pepper and Yvonne Black, and a menswear range which is sold under the Breakaway label.

In November last year, PAS completed its third acquisition, Melbourne based Designworks, which supplies product for discount department store distribution under house brand labels as well as the popular skate brand World Industries and the motor sport brand Anger Management.

PAS is now a major supplier into Myer, David Jones, Target and approximately 1600 boutique fashion outlets across Australia.

Mr Morris, a former Myer senior executive who was previously in charge of the retailer’s private label operations, said PAS continues to explore acquisition opportunities over the medium term with a potential view to listing the company further down the track.

“That is certainly one of our exit options, however, the main focus at this stage is to grow the business progressively, ensuring that all of our operations are run as effectively as possible,” he said.

Mr Morris said each of the businesses operating under the PAS umbrella remained separate, but benefited from the input and expertise of senior management and the leverage that was achievable by being a large player in the apparel market.

“The companies we acquire must have the right flavour and be able to add value to the PAS group. There are very good opportunities in the Australian market, however we are keen to ensure that the businesses we do acquire meet all our acquisition criteria.”

For further information, or to interview Eric Morris, please contact:

Tony Kaye, Corporate Image Communications

Tel: (03) 8676 0666 or 0407 094 875.

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