Manwah poised to boost Asian capacity with Futura parent acquisition

Transaction also allows the motion furniture manufacturer to move more quickly into stationary upholstery, a new category for Manwah

HIGH POINT – Motion furniture manufacturer Man Wah Holdings’ planned purchase of a 55% stake in Superb Creation Ltd. would not only expand the company’s product lines, but also its manufacturing footprint in Asia.

In addition to Shenzhen, China, where Superb is based, Superb has manufacturing in Vietnam and Thailand, according to public documents announcing the sale obtained by Home News Now. When the sale is completed sometime in early 2022, this would expand upon Man Wah’s existing manufacturing presence in China and Vietnam.

“The company believes that this is a good opportunity to significantly increase the production capacity of the group as well as increase its market share in the United States and Australia at a reasonable cost,” the company said in a Nov. 30 filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

A key goal is to offer customers a wider selection of leather motion and stationary furniture available from a larger manufacturing footprint.

According to the filing, Man Wah would pay HK $209 million for Superb, which also is the parent company of Futura Leathers. Based on recent currency exchange rates, that would be roughly $27 million in U.S. dollars. Any adjustment in the price would be capped at $275 million, or $35.3 million.

The deal would give Man Wan an ownership position in Superb’s Shenzhen manufacturing facilities, which have about 1.8 million in production space and about 2,400 workers. This facility also ships 800 containers a month according to the company website.

Specializing in leather fabric and stationary upholstery, the company said it also sources leathers from around the world, offering some 80 leather articles with 200 color options.

Superb is perhaps best known to many in the U.S. market through Futura, which specializes in leather upholstery.

For U.S. import arm Manwah USA, the deal opens the door to new product lines, particularly in  stationary upholstery where Manwah does not have a presence. These offerings are available in both the Futura line, which has a more traditional design aesthetic, and the Creo line, which offers a more European contemporary design element.

Gabriele Natale

“Futura does old-school stationary leather,” said Gabriele Natale, president of Manwah USA. “It is a category that does not have a big market share by itself, but it is still a valuable category with major retailers playing into it.”

He added that the segment of higher end European contemporary product also will fit nicely within the mix. While that product sells to the Australian and European markets and some OEM customers, Natale also sees greater potential in the U.S. along with the opportunity to do more business in Australia.

“Their main market is Australia – and the U.S.A. – and it gives us a little bit better penetration into Australia,” Natale said. “Superb Creation historically has been a very good line. They build very good product. It gives us a lot of things that we don’t have…It complements what we do perfectly.”

Natale also noted that Superb was founded over 20 years ago by one of the original partners in Manwah.

“That is how long it goes back, so when you look into the history of the company, it is a very good fit for us,” he said, adding that the company will remain an independent division of Manwah with its existing team in place for now.

Jerry Epperson

“They will have access to Manwah resources, which will make them stronger,” Natale added. “So it is good for both companies.”

Industry analyst Jerry Epperson, a managing partner in Richmond, Va.-based Mann, Armistead & Epperson, said that the acquisition makes sense as it complements Manwah’s capabilities in leather, while also getting the company into the stationary category.

“Plus there may be other advantages in terms of the location of the (manufacturing) facilities and labor,” Epperson said, adding that there has been a lot of talk of late of Manwah’s growth strategy through acquisitions.

For Manwah, other important assets include Superb’s well-established contacts and customer base through both Futura and its OEM accounts.

“With something like this, when you have a company that is as established and as strong in upholstery as Manwah, you always wonder what this other company has,” Epperson said. “What you don’t realize is that this company has an established product line, they have an established list of customers and placements and an established sales force that already knows that product line. So it probably was easier for them to acquire than it would have been to start up. That would have taken years.”

Tim Stump

Tim Stump, a partner in Charlotte, N.C.-based investment banking firm Stump & Co., said Manwah’s move is example of companies that are taking a more aggressive — versus a more cautious — approach in the marketplace.

“I think anytime you see an acquisition it shows a commitment and dedication to growth,” he said. “I think all of us in our industry should take note that Manwah is big and they want to be bigger not just in the U.S. but globally. They are committed to a growth strategy.”

The acquisition is expected to be completed sometime in early 2022, Natale noted, adding that further details about the strategy will emerge once that occurs.

Thomas Russell

Home News Now Editor-in-Chief Thomas Russell has covered the furniture industry for 25 years at various daily and weekly consumer and trade publications. He can be reached at and at 336-508-4616.

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