Iconic Australia bootmaker RM Williams bought by mining tycoon Andrew 'Twiggy' Forrest

Marco Green
October 19, 2020

Australian mining billionaire Andrew Forrest said his private company bought bootmaker R.M. Williams from a fund backed by French fashion giant LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE LVMH.PA , returning ownership of the famed fashion label to its home country after six years.

The takeover, to be announced today, follows successive hits to South Australian manufacturing icons, including the closure of Holden's Elizabeth plant in 2017 and the announcement last week of West End Brewery's shutdown next June.

RM Williams provided the outfits for the 2008 outback film epic, Australia, which starred Hugh Jackman and Oscar victor Nicole Kidman.

Vuppalapati said: "Our 2019 decision to invest in the second boot line, recruiting and training 100 additional employees in our Salisbury workshop, was an important milestone to enable us to continue the growth momentum".

"Firstly, let me say, Hugh, that we are delighted that you love RM Williams boots", the executive says in the opening before the camera pans out showing a naked Jackman seated across the desk, with his boot clad feet up.

"R.M. Williams - I just want to see that grow".

It is reported Mr Forrest bought the company in a deal worth $190m, from an American private equity company.

R.M. Williams CEO Raju Vuppalapati.

"RM Williams is a quintessential Aussie brand with a long and proud history of high-quality Australian craftsmanship", the statement said.

This included a decision a year ago to invest in a second boot line and train 100 extra workers at the Salisbury workshop.

"We just saw a fantastic brand, a great Australian product, a legacy for the country and it just needed to be Australian - it just had to come back home", says Dr Forrest.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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