Hillhouse Capital Group Ltd. and CDH Investments, the private equity owners of shoe retailer Belle International Holdings Ltd, are looking at spinning off the company's sportswear and apparel distribution business for a Hong Kong IPO, Bloomberg News reported May 15, citing sources with knowledge of the matter.
A potential listing could reportedly take place as early as 2019, with one source saying it could raise about $1 billion.
However, discussions about floating the unit remain at an early stage, according to the sources. In addition, Belle's owners, including management, may opt against the move.
Belle and CDH declined to comment to S&P Global Market Intelligence, while Hillhouse could not be reached for comment.
Belle operates more than 20,000 stores across Greater China, according to the company's website. It also makes shoes under its own labels such as Belle, Staccato, Millie's, Tata and Teenmix, in addition to distributing foreign footwear brands such as Bata, Clarks, Fitflop and Hush Puppies.
The sportswear and apparel unit primarily distributes products in China under licensed brands including Nike Inc., Adidas AG, PUMA SE, Converse and Columbia Sportswear Co.
Hillhouse and CDH took Belle private in July 2017, as the company sought to transform itself amid a challenging retail environment. Hillhouse holds a 57.6% stake in Belle, while CDH owns 11.9% and members of management hold the remaining 30.5%.