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Samsonite CEO bets on Tumi acquisition for future earnings growth

Samsonite's first-half interim profit fell 11 percent on-year to $10.4 million, but Chairman Tim Parker told CNBC that the recently-completed Tumi acquisition should brighten results in the second half.

Reporting early on Tuesday, the world's largest travel luggage company yielded a net profit of $82.4 million for the first half, versus $94.4 million last year. Net sales, meanwhile, rose to a record level of $1.21 billion, an annual rise of 4 percent.

"Across the world, we have a more fickle, cautious consumer looking for value. That consumer is finding value online very easily. The impact of online growth has had a depressive effect on average prices," Parker told CNBC's 'Squawk Box' following the earnings announcement.

While Samsonite maintains a strong e-commerce presence, its traditional brick-and-mortar operations in big markets such as China are feeling the hit from disruptive e-business, Parker said.

But the Hong Kong-listed firm's $1.82 billion purchase of American suitcase manufacturer Tumi can help offset the dent from e-commerce and a stronger greenback, another obstacle that weighed on performance in the first half.

First announced in March, the deal was finalized on August 1, becoming Samsonite's largest acquisition since its initial public offer in 2011.

"Tumi fills in the super premium lifestyle component of the market, so Samsonite now has a brand at every single price point across every category in the luggage market," Parker noted.


PHILIPPE LOPEZ | AFP | Getty Images

The deal did add debt on Samsonite's balance sheet for the first time but Parker wasn't concerned.

"Financing cost on average will be in the region of around 4.5 percent, which makes this acquisition accretive right from the start. We should see exciting results."

Despite the rise in debt, he isn't dismissing future acquisitions either.

"If a good opportunity comes along, we won't rule it out from a financial perspective. But it's fair to say that we have such a large business now and we need to focus on integrating it so we won't be over-active in that department."

Europe was a surprise bright spot in the firm's earnings report, with interim sales up 5.4 percent on-year to $268.8 million.

"Europe has done extremely well, partly because of the expansion of American Tourist, a brand that we newly launched in Europe, and as recent acquisition such as Chic Accent and Rolling Luggage added to the European business."

As smart technology starts dominating lifestyle products, Parker said Samsonite was exploring technology that could allow customers to detect the location of their luggage.

"But the integration of data-based tech will happen over a period of time...we're not about to see remote or talking luggage anytime soon," he warned.

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