Linmark Group's ultimate controlling shareholder, Wang Lu-yen, joined forces with four private equity funds to launch an up to HK$252.8 million offer to privatise the main-board apparel and hard goods sourcing firm. The offer was triggered by a separate one by Mr Wang and his partners to privatise Singapore-listed Roly International Holdings, the majority shareholder of Linmark and sister firm Byford International, a men's underwear maker listed on Hong Kong's Growth Enterprise Market. In a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange, Linmark said Mr Wang, joined by Asia Pacific Growth Fund, CFM Investments and FAT Capital Management and Titan I Venture Capital, would offer to buy at HK$1.05 each the 240.72 million shares in the company that they did not own. The offer price is 12.9 per cent higher than the 93 HK cents Linmark closed at on Monday, before trading of its shares was suspended yesterday before the market opening pending the statement. Mr Wang owns 34.4 per cent of Roly, while his institutional partners own a combined 17.7 per cent. Roly in turn owns 65.6 per cent of Linmark and 67.4 per cent of Byford. The offer to Linmark's minority shareholders was required under the takeovers code of the Securities and Futures Commission. Mr Wang's joining forces with his partners in the privatisation of Roly meant his control of Linmark exceeded the threshold triggering a mandatory general offer to buy Linmark shares he does not own. The offer for Linmark shares is subject to the acceptance of the offer for Roly shares by minority Roly shareholders. Linmark said Mr Wang and his partners were not obliged to make an offer to buy Byford shares they did not own under the takeovers code. Listed in Hong Kong in 2002, the price of Linmark's shares have fallen 55.95 per cent since the start of the year. Separately, the company last night announced a 58.06 per cent year-on-year decline in net profit to US$4.4 million for the six months to October despite turnover surging 96.87 per cent to US$193.68 million, thanks to the acquisition of electronic products supplier Dowry Peacock Group. The company blamed the profit decline on the departure of a key customer from North America, Warnaco, as well as US$1 million of restructuring charges and US$1.8 million of provision for doubtful debts.