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Rapala VMC acquires Okuma businesses in Europe and Russia


Rapala VMC Corporation has this morning announced the acquisition of the Okuma brand in Europe and Russia and it associated property rights.

The agreement, disclosed just minutes ago, means that Okuma will transfer those businesses for a consideration of USD 8million.

Simultaneously Rapala VMC and Okuma have agreed to conclude a supply agreement to buy Okuma branded reels and rods from Okuma. Rapala will commence with the sales of Okuma products to some extent in selected European countries in 2021, but the large scale European wide and Russian launch of Okuma brand will occur in 2022.

Through the combination of Okuma’s innovation and manufacturing capabilities with Rapala VMC’s strong marketing, customer knowledge and distribution power a solid platform for future growth in Europe and Russia will be created, says the statement. This combination has no effect on Okuma’s operations or business outside Europe and Russia.

Taiwan-based Okuma was established some 30 years ago by Charles Chang. The company has manufacturing facilities and R&D centres in Taiwan and China. Okuma has fully owned distribution companies in USA and Japan and  has won best in category awards at many recent ICAST and EFTTEX shows and is generally recognised as one of the top players in the global rod and reel business. Okuma’s current sales distributor in Europe and Russia at wholesale value exceeds slightly more than 10 million EUR.

Rapala says that Okuma’s product range is very suitable for the European and Russian fishing styles and Okuma will become the flagship brand in Rapala VMC’s current European rod & reel product portfolio. Together with the 13 Fishing brand and other Rapala VMC Group brands this impressive product offering will be a winning platform in the region. Furthermore, Rapala VMC will make very strong marketing investments to support the Okuma brand in its growth journey.

“Rapala VMC is widely regarded as the strongest distribution company in our industry having the widest and strongest customer base in Europe. Where Okuma excels in new product innovation and manufacturing, Rapala VMC excels in brand building, marketing, operations and customer service. I am confident that Rapala VMC will take very good care of Okuma brand and Okuma’s current customers in the region. Being able to join Rapala VMC in Europe and in Russia will allow Okuma to concentrate into its core manufacturing and innovation strengths. This marriage will accelerate the growth of Okuma branded business and it will increase the awareness and strength of Okuma brand among consumers worldwide“, says Charles Chang, Chairman and Founder of Okuma Fishing Tackle Co.Ltd.

In a stock exchange release, Nicolas Warchalowski, President and CEO of Rapala VMC Corporation, said: “This is a dream deal for both Okuma and Rapala VMC. Charles Chang and his team have done an excellent job to build the Okuma brand and product portfolio to a highly commercial Rod & Reel offering being able to fight for market share in the largest rod and reel categories in Europe. Our sales teams are getting geared up to present in 2022 to all European fishing tackle shops the impressive Okuma product range, which will allow retailers to earn a solid product margin and for consumers to learn more about the Okuma brand backed up by significantly increased marketing investments. Our new PD&I center for rods and reels in Taiwan, Taichung, headed up by Enrico Ravenni will work closely together with Charles Chang’s PD team to scale up the Okuma product range in rods and combos. We see significant opportunities for growth for Okuma in reels, rods and combo’s in Europe.”

Rapala VMC will initiate negotiations with Shimano Europe BV to end the distribution of Shimano branded products and joint ownership of Rapala VMC distribution companies situated in Russia, Kazakhstan, Czech, Belarus, Hungary, Romania and Croatia.

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