France-based travel retail company Lagardère Travel Retail has agreed to divest a minority stake in its Asian business to e-commerce retailer and investment firm JIC for CNY720m ($111.4m).

The deal is intended to support Lagardère Travel Retail’s growth in the region, with a focus on digital distribution channels.

The acquired business covers the division’s North Asia business, including mainland China, Hong Kong and Japan. will take over 18.63% of the business, while JIC will receive a 3.73% share. This represents a total of 22.36% of the share capital. Strategic Investment vice-president and head Zhengwei Hu said: “We will use the synergies generated by our respective advantages to jointly promote the digital transformation of the duty-free and travel retail industries, creating a supply chain system with higher efficiency and a better shopping experience.”

Lagardère Travel Retail Asia has a network of 480 stores across 32 airports and 28 high-speed train stations.

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The business operates in all segments in travel essentials, duty-free, fashion and foodservice. It generated a total of €148m ($175m) in revenue last year.

Lagardère Travel Retail chairman and CEO Dag Rasmussen said: “We are very pleased to announce this strategic alliance with prestigious partners, which will be transformative for our operations in China and will benefit our global travel retail network through increased digitalisation, omnichannel shopping experiences and best practices in supply chain management.

“Beyond commercial opportunities, [ourselves], and JIC have a shared commitment to making positive contributions to society through inclusiveness and sustainability, which makes this partnership even more meaningful.”

The deal is due to close this month subject to customary closing conditions.

In July, Lagardère Travel Retail signed a long-term profit-sharing duty-free agreement with Peruvian air travel company Lima Airport Partners.

The 13-year concession contract, effective from next January, is based on profit sharing for the operation of duty-free stores at Jorge-Chávez International Airport.