Kontoor Brands Inc., the jeans spin-off of VF Corp., began trading as a public company in its own right today, but its shares didn’t get off to a strong start.
Shares in the Greensboro, N.C.-based firm, whose brands include Wrangler, Lee and Rock & Republic, were trading down 7 percent, or $2.70 to $34.42.
The idea behind the spin-off was to separate the relatively staid jeans brands from VF’s best-performing names, Vans and North Face, so both divisions could get the specialist attention they required.
As part of the deal, Kontoor was given its own dedicated management team that can focus on capturing a bigger slice of the resurgent denim market — a category that is bouncing back after some tough ath-leisure competition.
“This is a historic day for everyone connected with Kontoor as we accelerate to the next stage of our journey as a public company,” said Scott Baxter, president and chief executive officer of Kontoor.
“Since the separation from VF was first announced last August, we have planned for this moment, and we are fully prepared to succeed. We are grateful to the VF and Kontoor teams that worked collaboratively to stand-up this terrific organization. We have a historic opportunity ahead of us. We are confident that Kontoor and its brands are positioned for value-creating performance.”