Sometimes a company’s course has to change to make room for more opportunities. That has happened many times throughout history. If you’re up to date with fashion news, you may have heard when Tiffany & Co was acquired by the LVMH group for $15.8 billion – at the time considered the biggest M&A acquisition in the world. In fact, such moves are quite common in the luxury industry, and it’s no surprise we’re witnessing an episode like this in the pen industry.
The first rumours about what could be called the deal of the year in the Writing Instrument industry surfaced in May, when Pelikan announced that it was in negotiations with prospective strategic buyers to dispose substantially all its assets and business interest. As expected, there has been a lot of speculation about who the buyer might be, but from what we know so far, it’s Holdham SAS – a holding company for the French based Hamelin group that has entered into an agreement with Pelikan International Corporation Berhad to acquire the Pelikan Group GMBH.
What impact this change will have on Pelikan’s future in the pen industry only time can tell, but until then let’s find out more about Hamelin – the company that will influence the course of the 185-year-old German brand. The Hamelin Group is a French family business that was founded in Caen, France, in 1864 by Ernest Hamelin and is today a market leader in school and office products with headquarters in Normandy, France.
Without making hasty assumptions, but just looking at the statistics, we could say that Hamelin’s current market position is quite similar to Pelikan’s, which got 44% of its sales from school supplies and 36% from office supplies in 2022, with only 7% representing sales in the fine writing instruments division. With more than 2400 employees in 19 countries, and a turnover of 400+ million euros, Hamelin has a well consolidated position in the market which will undoubtedly benefit Pelikan. Their products are used in over 100 countries with local subsidiaries and operations in the UK, France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Poland, Czech Republic, Turkey, Tunisia, and Australia.
Despite the concerns of the fans, I believe that new horizons are opening up for Pelikan now that Hamelin is taking over. Eric Joan’s (CEO of the Hamelin Group) statement heralds a fruitful journey for Pelikan “We are thrilled about this agreement with PICB to acquire the Pelikan Group. Pelikan’s brands, product range and global distribution network fit perfectly with Hamelin’s industrial plan to become a global player in the school and office supplies markets. The synergies are considerable, and the growth potential is very significant for the Oxford and Pelikan brands worldwide.”
In addition to the revenue this €136 million acquisition is expected to generate for the Hamelin group, I’m wondering how the French giant will shape Pelikan’s path, and of course where the fine writing instruments division will head under the new ownership. That’s something only time can tell, but like most devoted Pelikan fans, I’d love to see Pelikan sporting a fresh new look over the years. Perhaps more innovation? We shall see.