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Li & Fung Appoints Ex-Citigroup Investment Banker as CFO

Li & Fung Ltd., the world’s largest supplier of clothes and toys to retailers, appointed former Citigroup Inc. banker Ed Lam as chief financial officer to help implement its acquisition strategy.

Lam previously headed the Hong Kong corporate and investment banking unit of Citigroup, Li & Fung said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. As a banker, he worked with Li & Fung said on acquisitions and loans, equity and bond sales, and trade finance, the company said.

“The new appointment seems like good news on the surface, but it doesn’t offer an immediate remedy to the company,” Steven Leung, a director of institutional sales at UOB Kay Hian Ltd., said by telephone from Hong Kong, “The bigger issue remains whether the company can weather weak retail sentiment in the U.S.”

Li & Fung posted a 22 percent decline in core operating profit in the first half as U.S. consumers curbed spending amid a slowing economy. The Hong Kong-based company has relied on acquisitions to boost growth, spending about $3 billion on deals from 2006 to 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Lam has “a proven track record in M&A and leading financial strategy which will complement our existing management team,” Spencer Fung, the company’s chief operating officer, said in the statement.

Li & Fung dropped 0.3 percent to HK$11.94 as of 10:17 a.m in Hong Kong trading. The city’s benchmark Hang Seng Index fell 0.4 percent.

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