South Korea’s largest eyewear retailer Davich Optical has been up for grabs, but has been unable to court suitors due to poor market conditions amid ongoing Covid-19 crisis.
According to multiple sources from the investment bank industry, Davich Optical has been tapping multiple candidates to sell the entire stake owned by the founding family and CEO Kim In-gyu since the end of 2019. The seller is hoping to get about 120 billion won ($106.7 million) for the entire stake based on 9 billion won earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) in 2019.
An unnamed official from the investment bank industry said that a Chinese strategic investor proposed to invest partially in the company in late 2019 but talks fell through on differences over the price. A number of investors have shown interest in Davich Optical because of the eyewear chain store operator’s massive retail network in the country.
But sales process has been slow as the yearlong epidemic crisis has dramatically cut sales at its offline chain stores.
According to data from Financial Supervisory Service, Davich Optical raised 93.4 billion won in sales in 2020, down 12 percent from the previous year. Operating income also plunged 23 percent from 8.4 billion won to 6.5 billion won over the same period, while net profit slid 21 percent from 6.7 billion won to 5.3 billion won.
Market prospects also are not looking up due to surge of platform sellers.
The number of optical product franchises declined 0.4 percent from 3,184 stores in 2018 to 3,171 stores in 2019 in Korea, according to data from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
By Kang In-seon and Lee Eun-joo
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