ITOCHU Announces Conclusion of Sponsorship Agreement with Edwin Group

March 11, 2014

ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Masahiro Okafuji, President & CEO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) announced today that it has concluded a sponsorship agreement to acquire a 100% stake in Edwin Holdings (headquartered in Arakawa-ku, Tokyo; Shuji Tsunemi, President & CEO; hereinafter “Edwin HD”), Japan’s largest manufacturer and distributor of jeans. The agreement was concluded on March 10, 2014.

The Edwin Group headed by Edwin HD is a corporate group that consists of 29 companies in Japan and five companies overseas. In addition to manufacturing and distributing its own labels “EDWIN” and “SOMETHING,” for which it enjoys a high level of nation-wide recognition. It also holds licensing rights of North America’s leading jeans brands “Lee” and “Wrangler,” and the North American military brand “Alpha Industries,” famous for its flight jackets.

The Group owns 13 of its own factories, mainly in the Tohoku region, and through ongoing capital investment together with the unremitting and persistent pursuit of technological innovation has established one of the industry’s most outstanding production systems in terms of high quality and efficiency. Further, owing to a solid sales foundation extending over many years with major jeans chain companies, its great strength lies in product development that is quick to discern market trends and consumer demands.

With its many excellent brands and strength in product development, the Edwin Group has established a solid position in the industry by creating a unique business model that integrates the entire process from planning and manufacturing to distribution.

ITOCHU has contributed extensively to the development of the Edwin Group over the course of its long-standing business relationship, including the development of materials and products, brand launch, market development, and credit support. In addition, ITOCHU provided a range of support measures to enable the Edwin Group to stay in business following the discovery of large losses incurred as a result of foreign exchange derivatives in August 2012. Recently, ITOCHU acquired preferential negotiating rights in the sponsor selection process implemented by the Group as it endeavors to rebuild its business through Turnaround ADR measures, which led to the conclusion of this sponsorship agreement.

ITOCHU will continue to refortify the Group’s principal jeans business while respecting the traditions and identity of the Edwin Group, as well as strengthen internal control and other aspects of the business management structure. Moreover, taking maximum advantage of ITOCHU’s wealth of experience and global networks in all areas of the textile industry, from materials to apparel and brands, we will expand the product line-up to items other than jeans. At the same time, in addition to further strengthening the relationship with our existing customers, we will proactively tackle the development of new markets, including overseas markets, with a view to further enhancing the corporate value of the Edwin Group and expanding its business.

Overview of Edwin Group

Company names Edwin Holdings, and other companies (29 in Japan, 5 overseas)
Representative Shuji Tsunemi
Headquarters Arakawa-ku, Tokyo
Founded 1969 (Edwin Co., Ltd.)
Business Planning, manufacture, and distribution of denim jeans and other clothing and accessories
Sales 50 billion yen / May period 2013

Main brands of Edwin Group: EDWIN, SOMETHING, Lee