PLANT

Shares in Canada Goose soar in debut public offering

CEO vows to continue to use fur in its winter coats for “functional purposes.”

March 17, 2017   by CP STAFF

The Toronto-based company’s high-performance and trendy parkas are no longer just a Canadian favourite. PHOTO: Canada Goose

TORONTO — Shares in Canada Goose soared in its initial public offering March 16 in Toronto and New York as the head of the luxury parka manufacturer defended the company’s decision to use animal fur.

“We’re not looking to change our plans (to use fur) in response to a loud but vocal minority,” said Dani Reiss, president and chief executive at Canada Goose Inc.

Reiss, the grandson of the company’s founder, said Canada Goose has long used duck down feathers and coyote fur in its jackets, a practice it stands by for “functional purposes.”

“Additionally to that, we make a lot of jackets,” he said. “A lot of jackets we make don’t have fur on them. We know that wearing different products is a personal choice and we offer products for everybody.”

The company has been targeted by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals for its use of fur.

The animal-rights group has said it plans on buying around $4,000 worth of shares so it can speak at the company’s annual meetings and urge it to stop using coyote fur in its jackets. That is a tactic the group has used in the past with other companies such as Lululemon, Hermes, Louis Vuitton and Prada.

Toronto-based Canada Goose, which began in 1957 out of a small warehouse under the name Metro Sportswear Ltd., made its public debut on the Toronto and New York stock markets with an offering of 20 million shares.

The shares, trading under the symbol GOOS, had an IPO price of $17 but rocketed at the open to $23.86 on the Toronto Stock Exchange and US$18 on the New York Stock Exchange.

As of 1:30 p.m. ET, the shares were $21.83 in Toronto and US$16.38 in New York.

Of the 20 million subordinate-voting shares offered in the IPO, 12.85 million shares came from existing shareholders who will hold 79% to 81% of the company after the sale, depending on whether underwriters exercise an over-allotment option.

The company recently opened two retail stores in Toronto and New York and its products can be found in 36 countries.

Reiss said Canada Goose plans on opening 15 to 20 more stores worldwide in the next three years, as part of an expansion plan that will see it grow in countries like China.

He said being in so many countries and continuing to diversify into spring, rain and wind clothing as well as accessories, will help the company sustain sales during warm winters.

“The world weather patterns are changing. They’re more unpredictable than they ever were before,” said Reiss, noting that cold is relative.

“Tokyo is a very, very strong market for us. We have a lot of loyal fans there. It almost never goes below zero and it almost never snows.”

Canada Goose said it had revenue of $290.8 million and net income of $26.5 million in fiscal 2016, according to securities filings.

The majority of the company is owned by investment firm Bain Capital, which acquired a 70% stake in Canada Goose in December 2013 for an undisclosed price.

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