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Fossil in 50:50 joint venture with Rajesh Exports

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To manufacture, market brands in India


NEW VENTURE: Mr Rajesh Mehta, Chairman of Rajesh Exports Ltd (left) with Mr Mark Parker, senior Vice-President, Fossil Asia Pacific, at a press conference in Bangalore on Monday. — G.R.N. Somashekar

Bangalore , Dec. 4

US-headquartered watches and accessories brand Fossil Inc has entered into a joint venture with Rajesh Exports to manufacture and market its brands in India and jointly develop jewellery lines for the global market.

Fossil has also acquired fashion jewellery brand OyzterBay. Rajesh Exports had taken over the retail assets of OyzterBay recently and converted OyzterBay standalone stores into Laabh Jewellers outlets as part of its Rs 450-crore retail venture. But the OyzterBay brand is now being given a fresh lease of life through Fossil.

The 50-50 joint venture with Rajesh Exports will be called Fossil India Inc. Mr Vasant Nangia will be the Managing Director of the new company. While Fossil will source jewellery from Rajesh Exports, Fossil's brands will also be sold in Rajesh Exports' retail stores. Fossil's watch portfolio include the brands DKNY, Fossil, Diesel, Emporio Armani, Burberry, Zodiac, Adidas and Michele. The deal also entails manufacture of Fossil brands in the country with Fossil planning to set up a manufacturing base in India soon. Preliminary studies regarding the location of the unit; the size of manufacturing and the brands to be made are yet to be decided. It will be decided once the new customs duty structure is announced in the Budget, said Mr Rajesh Mehta, Chairman, Rajesh Exports.

Fossil has its own manufacturing facilities in China and Switzerland. "The joint venture will also jointly create a range of designs in jewellery to be offered to global markets through the established network of Fossil," said Mr Mehta.

Mr Mark Parker, Senior Vice-President, Fossil Asia Pacific, said he was excited about India, as it is "going to be the driver of Asia and will overtake China soon."

With the OyzterBay brand in its kitty, Fossil will roll out new-format OyzterBay stores from next year. The stores will sell all the products of Fossil - watches and fashion accessories. Plans are on to take the OyzterBay brand to the global markets as well - Asia Pacific and North America to start with. Meanwhile, the first phase of Rajesh Exports' retail venture is nearing completion with 22 Laabh Jewellers stores. Another 100 retail stores under the name `Shubh Jewellers' will be opened by April 2007. Rajesh Exports is also looking to open Shubh and Laabh stores abroad.

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