18/10/2020 - 22:29

Tattarang buys R.M. Williams

18/10/2020 - 22:29

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Andrew and Nicola Forrest have added to their sprawling private business empire by purchasing boot manufacturer and retailer R.M. Williams for a reported $190 million.

Andrew Forrest's Tattarang has purchased R.M. Williams. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Andrew and Nicola Forrest have added to their sprawling private business empire by purchasing boot manufacturer and retailer R.M. Williams for a reported $190 million.

Their private investment company Tattarang has bought Adelaide-based R.M. Williams from private equity group L Catterton, which is backed by France’s LVMH Moët Hennessy - Louis Vuitton.

Minority shareholders in R.M. Williams included actor Hugh Jackman and investment group IFM.

Tattarang was understood to have outbid another private equity group, US-based TPG Capital.

The sale price was not disclosed in last night’s announcement but is widely reported to be $190 million.

It has also been reported that the business generated $23 million in annual profit before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation.

The business has 900 employees, most of whom are based in Australia, including 400 at its workshop in Salisbury, Adelaide.

It was founded in 1932 by bushman and entrepreneur Reginald Murray ‘R.M.’ Williams and has become an iconic brand, famous for its handcrafted boots.

It is also a clothing retailer.

The business has had several owners over the years including Seven Group boss Kerry Stokes and News Corp executive Ken Cowley

It was acquired by L Catterton in 2013 and put up for sale last year.

Mr Forrest said R.M. Williams was a quintessential Aussie brand with a long and proud history of high-quality Australian craftsmanship.

“Nicola and I are incredibly proud and humbled to be able to bring R.M. Williams back under Australian ownership,” he said. 

Mrs Forrest said she wanted to continue the company’s legacy.

“By bringing R.M. Williams back into Australian hands, we will ensure the Australian craftmanship continues to be loved and worn all around the world.”

R.M. Williams chief executive Raju Vuppalapati said the brand was the strongest it has ever been in its 88-year history.

“Our 2019 decision to invest in the second boot line, recruiting and training 100 additional employees in our Salisbury workshop, was an important milestone to enable us to continue the growth momentum,” he added.

RM Williams will add to six existing business divisions at Tattarang including agribusiness arm Harvest Road group, mining subsidiary Wyloo Metals and property developer Fiveight.

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