Ineos becomes unlikely follower of fashion

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Billionaire Jim Ratcliffe is known for his unconventional approach but his latest move will have left many scratching their heads after Ineos, the chemicals company he founded in 1998, snapped up UK fashion brand Belstaff.

Ineos, which says it is the UK’s biggest private company with sales of US$40bn, did not elaborate on the reasons for the purchase nor disclose the price except to say that the acquisition from JAB holding, which is the investment vehicle of Germany’s billionaire Reimann family, will return this very British heritage brand with links to automotive….back to British ownership.”

Belstaff, which is best known for its waxed cotton motorcycle jackets once worn by Steve McQueen, will sit in a separate part of the Ineos, which has recently expanded in the oil and gas sector with a US$1bn purchase of Dong Energy’s upstream business.

Last month Ratcliffe announced plans to invest up to £600m (US$792m) to produce a new vehicle based on Jaguar Land Rover’s Defender model, which was discontinued in 2016.

While Ratcliffe is jumping into the fashion business, the deal marks a further retreat from it by JAB, which is overhauling its strategy to focus on consumer products and coffee.

JAB, which is chaired by Bart Becht, the former CEO of Reckitt Benckiser, sold its 68% stake in designer shoes company Jimmy Choo to Michael Kors in July, and is  also in the process of disposing of fashion brand Bally.

The company has sold Belstaff to UK chemicals company Ineos.. This follows the sale in July by JAB of Jimmy Choo to Michael Kohrs while it is also selling fashion brand Bally.

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