ROCKFORD, Mich. -- Wolverine Worldwide (NYSE: WWW) and Forus SA (SSE: FORUS) today announced the formation of a new joint venture, Lifestyle Brands of Colombia, to market footwear in Colombia. This joint venture will be granted the long-term distribution rights to market some of Wolverine's most significant brands, Merrell and Caterpillar Footwear, in the important Colombian market. Further, the venture will market Forus' well-established outdoor brand, RKF. Wolverine will own 51 percent of the new joint venture.
As a second part of the business collaboration, Wolverine is purchasing a 49 percent stake in Forus' existing Colombian business, Forus SA Colombia, which currently has the rights to Wolverine's Hush Puppies and Cushe brands in Colombia. Forus SA Colombia currently owns and operates 23 retail locations and sells directly to Colombia's most important department stores and specialty footwear retailers.
This collaborative business relationship in Colombia between Wolverine and Forus is a natural fit because of the long-standing relationship between the two companies. Forus SA is Wolverine Worldwide's largest distributor and licensee partner in Latin America, representing Wolverine brands in Chile, Uruguay and Peru, in addition to Colombia. The partnership has spanned more than 30 years and has a long and enviable track record of success This new business strategy is a clear demonstration of the focused efforts of Wolverine Worldwide's International Group, exemplifying a regionally focused approach to strategy, resources and infrastructure.
Commenting on the news, Blake W. Krueger, Wolverine Worldwide Chairman and Chief Executive Officer stated, "Maximizing the growth of our lifestyle brands in premium segments of the global footwear and apparel markets is at the heart of our Company's strategy. We are exceptionally pleased to announce this important strategic initiative for the Company. We expect these joint ventures to expand the retail presence of our brands through stand-alone stores, shop-in-shops and selected wholesale distribution in the exciting Colombian market. Forus is one of our very best global partners, and they are equally dedicated to the success, growth and continued global expansion of our lifestyle brands."
"As Forus, we are proud to announce this new relationship with Wolverine Worldwide; one that already spans more than 30 years," commented Alfonso Swett, Chairman of Forus SA. "We will begin a new stage in the development of our businesses in the market of Colombia. This represents an enormous opportunity in the premium brand segment in the footwear and apparel industry. We are certain that both companies, together, will make a strong alliance combining their strategic assets of retail operations, design, brand management, consumer marketing, sourcing and others, all combining to guarantee us the power to develop a successful strategy to take a leadership position in the Colombian market."
About Forus SA
Forus SA was found by Alfonso Swett, chairman since 1980. In 2006, the company was opened to the market in Chile. This is a company focused in brand equity, supported by specialty retail. Today, it has more than 300 stores with presence in Chile, Uruguay, Peru and Colombia with a complete brand portfolio. Forus strategic pillars have been, and will continue to be, a focus on its marketing of excellence, while having the best human resources in each area of the business.
About Wolverine Worldwide
With a commitment to service and product excellence, Wolverine World Wide, Inc. is one of the world's leading marketers of branded casual, active lifestyle, work, outdoor sport and uniform footwear and apparel. The Company's portfolio of highly recognized brands includes: Bates®, Chaco®, Cushe®, Hush Puppies®, HYTEST®, Merrell®, Sebago®, Soft Style® and Wolverine®. The Company also is the footwear licensee of popular brands including CAT®, Harley-Davidson® and Patagonia®. The Company's products are carried by leading retailers in the U.S. and globally in more than 190 countries and territories. For additional information, please visit our website, www.wolverineworldwide.com.