Many Kiwi consumers have fond associations with iconic outdoor clothing brand Swanndri. The company, known for its thick woolen jackets favoured by hunters and farmers, is now purchasing marine-focused apparel company Line 7.
Line 7 was founded in New Zealand in 1963 offering wet-weather gear for sailors. It moved into manufacturing gear for the agricultural sector in 1980.
It reportedly came close to receivership in 1990 before hitting peak publicity in the late 1990s-early 2000s, providing clothing for crews in the America's Cup, Round the World Yacht Race and Olympic Games. It fell into receivership owing creditors $5 million in 2009, when it was purchased in receivership by Charles Parsons. It completed liquidation in 2011 and was part of Farmers’ stable of brands by 2012. As of 2015, it had begun targeting mainstream outdoor shoppers with its ‘Frontier’ collection.
Now, Swanndri has announced that its Christchurch-based parent company Longbeach Holdings has agreed to terms to purchase Line 7 from Charles Parsons. Swanndri chief executive Mark Nevin says the company is excited to be purchasing the renowned Kiwi brand.
“Two of New Zealand’s highly recognised outdoor brands are coming together and we see a great synergy between each of the brand’s product categories. The Swanndri business has grown significantly in the past five years and we remain focused on ongoing expansion where it makes sense. Line 7’s quality agricultural and wet-weather gear will be making a fantastic addition to our work performance category.”
Nevin says the Line 7 acquisition follows strong recent performance from Swanndri, with its Australian business growing three times over in the last two years, while the UK business has seen the addition of Scottish outdoor chain Tiso to its stockists. Swanndri has also opened two domestic stores in the last 12 months.
Longbeach Holdings managing director Craig McCallum says Line 7 offers opportunities with its commercial and industrial marine channels.
Adrian Jones, Charles Parsons chief executive, wished Swanndri owner Longbeach every future success with Line 7. His company will continue to operate the business and work on its transition plan until June 30.