Samsonite Article

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Samsonite International S.A.
Société Anonyme
Traded as SEHK1910
Founded Denver, Colorado, 1910 (1910)
Founder Jesse Shwayder
Headquarters Luxembourg City, Luxembourg (registered office)
Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong (financial)
Key people
Kyle Gendreau [1]

Samsonite International S.A. ( SEHK1910) is a luggage manufacturer and retailer, with products ranging from large suitcases to small toiletries bags and briefcases. The company was founded in Denver, Colorado, United States. Its registered office is in Luxembourg and it is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. [2]


The company was founded in Denver, Colorado, on March 10, 1910 by Blackhawk, Colorado-born luggage salesman Jesse Shwayder (1882–1970) [3] as the Shwayder Trunk Manufacturing Company. [4] A religious man, Shwayder named one of his initial cases Samson, after the Biblical strongman, and began using the trademark Samsonite in 1941 for its tapered vulcanized fiber suitcase, introduced in 1939. [3] [5] In 1965 after the Samsonite suitcase became its best-selling product, the company changed its name to SAMSONITE. For many years the subsidiary SAMSONITE Furniture Co. made folding chairs and card tables in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

The Shwayder family sold the company to Beatrice Foods in 1973. Samsonite operated with relative independence within Beatrice until 1986, when the company was sold to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. Subsequently, the company went through multiple changes of ownership in the 1980s and into the 1990s. First, Samsonite was spun off from KKR as part of E-II, which came under the control of American Brands. [5] E-II went through bankruptcy and was renamed Astrum International. In 1993, Astrum purchased American Tourister luggage, complementing Samsonite. [6] In 1995, Astrum split, and an independent Samsonite (now including American Tourister) was once again headquartered in Denver. [5]

The Denver factory, which employed 4,000 at its peak, closed in May 2001. Samsonite headquarters moved from Denver to Mansfield, Massachusetts, after a change of ownership in May 2005. CVC Capital Partners Ltd. in July 2007 became Samsonite's fifth owner in 21 years. [7] [8]

Samsonite moved its US marketing and sales offices from 91 Main Street in Warren, Rhode Island, to Mansfield, Massachusetts, effective September 1, 2005.

In 2005 the company was acquired by Marcello Bottoli, former chief executive of Louis Vuitton as president and CEO, to pull them out of a long slump. [9] Bottoli left the company in 2009. [10]

In July 2007 finance investor CVC Capital Partners took over Samsonite for $1.7 billion. [11]

On September 2, 2009 Samsonite Company Store LLC (U.S. Retail Division), formally known as Samsonite Company Stores Inc, filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. [12] It planned to close up to 50% of its stores and discontinue the "Black Label" brand in the United States. [13] [14]

In June 2011 Samsonite raised US$1.25 billion in an initial public offering in Hong Kong. [15]

In August 2012 Samsonite paid $35 million in cash to buy the high-end luggage brand Hartmann, which was founded in 1877.

In June 2014, Samsonite agreed to buy technical outdoor backpack brand Gregory Mountain Products from Black Diamond, Inc., for US$85.0 million in cash. [16]

In March 2016 Samsonite agreed to buy luxury baggage maker Tumi for $1.8 billion in its largest ever acquisition.


Beginning in 1961, Samsonite manufactured and distributed Lego building toys for the North American market under license from the Danish parent firm. A licensing dispute ended the arrangement in the U.S. in 1972, but Samsonite remained the distributor in Canada until 1986. Albert H. Reckler, then head of Military and export sales for the luggage division, brought the idea of manufacturing and selling Lego in the U.S. to Samsonite. He and Stan A. Clamage were instrumental in establishing the Lego brand in the United States. This was part of an overall company expansion into toy manufacturing [17] in the 1960s that was abandoned in the 1970s.


Forty percent of all Samsonite hard luggage is manufactured at its plant in Nashik, India. [18] Two Samsonite assembly plants are in Hungary. [19]

Samsonite factory in Hungary, Szekszard





  1. ^ Seigel, Rachel (June 1, 2018). "Samsonite CEO resigns after falsely claiming he had a PhD in business administration". Washington Post. Retrieved June 2, 2018.
  2. ^ "2011 Annual Report" (PDF). Samsonite International S.A. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 3, 2013.
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ Barreto, Elzio (June 10, 2011). "Samsonite HK IPO bags $1.25 billion after pricing at bottom". Reuters. Retrieved 2012-03-04.
  5. ^ a b c Samsonite Corp. History. International Directory of Company Histories. 13. St. James Press. 1996.
  6. ^ Strom, Stephanie (1993-09-26). "Wall Street; New Name, New Life, for Astrum". The New York Times. ISSN  0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  7. ^ Clothier, Mark (July 5, 2007), "Samsonite Sold to Buyout Firm", Denver Post, Bloomberg News.
  8. ^ Clothier, Mark (July 6, 2007), "Luggage Maker Packs up Sale Deal", Denver Post, Bloomberg News.
  9. ^ Meredith, Robyn (June 20, 2005). "Sleeker Samsonite". Forbes. Retrieved 2010-09-30.
  10. ^ "People". Forbes (profile).
  11. ^ "Samsonite to Be Sold". The New York Times. July 6, 2007.
  12. ^ "Samsonite Chapter 11 Petition" (PDF). PacerMonitor. PacerMonitor. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  13. ^ "Samsonite". Samsonite company stores. September 2, 2009. Archived from the original on August 10, 2010. Retrieved September 30, 2010.
  14. ^ "Samsonite retail unit files for bankruptcy". Reuters. September 2, 2009. Retrieved 2010-09-30.
  15. ^ "Samsonite I.P.O. Raises $1.25 Billion". The New York Times. June 10, 2011. Retrieved 2012-03-03.
  16. ^ "Black Diamond sells Gregory to Samsonite". SNews. June 19, 2014. Retrieved 2018-11-07.
  17. ^ Toys catalogue (photo gallery), Samsonite, 1972.
  18. ^ "After shoes, Samsonite plans watches, eyewear". The Hindu Business Line. September 18, 2008. Retrieved 2010-09-30.
  19. ^ "Samsonite opens second factory in Hungary". Retrieved 2019-01-01.
  20. ^ "Samsonite Enters Market For Protective Mobile Device Cases With Acquisition Of US-Based Company Speck Products". Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  21. ^ "Samsonite to acquire Tumi for US$26.75 per share to create a leading global travel lifestyle company" (PDF).

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