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Trinity Group Liquidation Puts Gieves & Hawkes Future in Doubt

Shandong Ruyi, once hailed as China’s LVMH, has been forced to put liquidators in charge of Trinity Group.

In 2018, Trinity became part of the fashion portfolio at Ruyi Group, which recently missed a bond payment that subsequently shut down the website of Trinity’s Kent & Curwen brand, although its Greater China stores remain open. The same fate also has befallen Paris-based Cerruti 1881.

Trinity was trying to find a buyer for 250-year-old Saville Row tailor Gieves & Hawkes, which services the British royal court. Sources said the company attracted interest from private equity firms as well as Marks & Spencer, but nothing materialized into a formal sale. The aim was to sell off some operations and restructure.

But Ruyi’s financial distress has gotten significantly worse, casting a shadow not just over Trinity but also that of French accessible luxury group SMCP, the Bagir Group Ltd. in Israel and others. Bagir filed an insolvency petition in 2020, while creditors were shopped a 29 percent stake in SMCP—the owner of the Sandro, Maje, Claudie Pierlot and De Fursac brands—after minority stakeholder Ruyi failed to redeem bonds that were due Sept. 30.

Ruyi’s financial struggles saw Standard Chartered Bank, Trinity’s lender, filing petitions last year with the Supreme Court of Bermuda seeking to winding up Trinity’s operations. The court declined to grant the order as Trinity was working out a settlement with the bank. But Trinity last month fell into liquidation after it was unable to sell off Gieves & Hawkes. A Hong Kong Stock Exchange filing confirmed that Trinity is now subject to court-appointed, bank-approved liquidators FTI consulting and R&H Services. It wasn’t immediately clear what will happen to Kent & Curwen, Cerruti and Gieves & Hawkes, although The Times reported that Marks & Spencer could still acquire the latter. Now that Trinity is in the hands of liquidators, Gieves & Hawkes might go for a cheaper price.

Sources speculate that Trinity could owe millions to David Beckham after the British soccer star ended his deal fronting Kent & Curwen. Beckham is currently said to be in talks to sell a stake in his DB Ventures company to American brand management firm Authentic Brands Group.

Another Asian conglomerate has also suffered a similar fate following the impact of the Covid pandemic. Global Brands Group Holdings Ltd, a spinoff by sourcing and supply chain giant Li & Fung Ltd., in November decided to liquidate after it failed to garner the support from lenders on its restructuring bid.