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Luxury Swiss watchmaker Corum sold to China Haidian

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The Swiss watchmaker Corum said Wednesday it had been acquired by China Haidian in the first purchase of a luxury Swiss watch company by a Chinese rival.

China Haidian said it had acquired 100 percent of Corum for 86 million Swiss francs ($90.9 million, 71.6 million euros).

The companies said the sale would anchor China Haidian's position in the Swiss luxury watch sector while opening new prospects for development and positioning of the Corum brand worldwide.

"This strategic agreement fulfils the long term vision of both partners for the continued development and growth of the Corum brand," they said in statement.

"I am very pleased with this acquisition and I firmly believe in the potential development of Corum," China Haidian chief executive Hon Kwok Lung said in a statement.

Founded in 1955 and based in the town La Chaux-de-Fonds in the canton of Neuchatel, Corum is known for its gold and jewelled encrusted watches that start from 4,000 francs.

The Hong Kong-listed China Haidian Holdings Limited manufactures its own watches and also distributes selected Swiss luxury watch brands in China and throughout Asia.

China Haidian, which owns two of the top four domestic Chinese watch brands, EBOHR and ROSSINI, also owns the Swiss brand Eterna which has a license to manufacture and distribute globally "Porsche Design" watches.

It also distributes Japanese brands Casio and Citizen in China.

For the Swiss watch industry association, the new owners intentions are what is most important, and if "they intend to continue the development of the brand ... in the long term," said its chief Jean-Daniel Pasche.

The sale was announced on the eve of Baselworld, the world's biggest watch trade fair held in the Swiss city of Basel.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130424/luxury-swiss-watchmaker-corum-sold-china-haidian-0