THE AGE:  Renee Switzer

Retail brand wholesale company Pacific Apparel Solutions is indulging in its own shopping spree, securing four major acquisitions in 18 months as it prepares to float.

The company, backed by DB Capital Partners, the private equity division of Deutsche Asset Management (Australia) Limited, announced yesterday it had bought Sydney-based The Hopkins Group for an undisclosed sum.

The Hopkins Group produces up-market labels such as Marco Polo, Capital M and Sirocco.

Pacific Apparel Solutions chief executive Eric Morris said the transaction positioned PAS as one of the largest wholesale apparel companies in Australia.

Mr Morris, formerly a senior Myer executive in charge of private labels operations, said PAS was continuing to explore acquisition opportunities.

“We’re talking to about three or four (companies) at the moment – and we have a lot of people approaching us,” he said.

He did not disclose the size of his company’s shopping budget. “I’ll just say it’s not a limited budget,” he said. “We have significant funding behind us.”

Annual earnings at PAS before interest and tax are between $20 million and $25 million.

Mr Morris said the company was becoming a sizeable player and would consider floating in the next financial year.

PAS made it first acquisition in late 2004 with clothing brand Yarra Trail, and last year bought Melbourne-based companies Breakaway and Designworks.

The company is a major supplier to Myer and David Jones.

Other players in the wholesale retail sector include Pacific Brands, Gazal, Globe International and Oroton Group.


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