Samsonite International S.A. (SEHK1910) is a luggage manufacturer and retailer, with products ranging from large suitcases to small toiletries bags and briefcases. The company was founded in Denver, Colorado, United States. Its registered office is in Luxembourg and it is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.[4]

Samsonite International S.A.
TypeSociété Anonyme
Founded10 March 1910; 113 years ago (1910-03-10)
FounderJesse Shwayder
HeadquartersLuxembourg City, Luxembourg
(registered office),

Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong (financial),

Mansfield, Massachusetts (corporate)[1]
Key people
Kyle Gendreau[2]
Number of employees


1910 - 2001Edit

The company was founded in Denver, Colorado, on March 10, 1910 by Black Hawk, Colorado-born luggage salesman Jesse Shwayder (1882–1970) as the Shwayder Trunk Manufacturing Company.[5][6][7] A religious man, Shwayder named one of his initial cases Samson, after the Biblical strongman, and began using the trademark Samsonite in 1941 for its tapered vulcanized fiber suitcase, introduced in 1939.[8] In 1965, after the Samsonite suitcase became its best-selling product, the company changed its name to SAMSONITE. For many years the subsidiary SAMSONITE Furniture Co. made folding chairs and card tables in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

The Shwayder family sold the company to Beatrice Foods in 1973. In 1974, the company released the brand's first wheeled suitcase.[6] Samsonite operated with relative independence within Beatrice until 1986, when the company was sold to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. Subsequently, the company went through multiple changes of ownership in the 1980s and into the 1990s. First, Samsonite was spun off from KKR as part of E-II, which came under the control of American Brands.[8] E-II went through bankruptcy and was renamed Astrum International. In 1993, Astrum purchased American Tourister luggage, complementing Samsonite.[9] In 1995, Astrum split, and an independent Samsonite (now including American Tourister) was once again headquartered in Denver.[8]

2001 - 2010Edit

The Denver factory, which employed 4,000 at its peak, closed in May 2001. Samsonite headquarters moved from Denver to Mansfield, Massachusetts, after a change of ownership in May 2005.

Samsonite moved its US marketing and sales offices from 91 Main Street in Warren, Rhode Island, to Mansfield, Massachusetts, effective September 1, 2005.

In 2005, the company was acquired by Marcello Bottoli, former CEO of Louis Vuitton, to pull them out of a long slump.[10] Bottoli left the company in 2009.[11]

In July 2007, finance investor CVC Capital Partners took over Samsonite for $1.7 billion.[12] CVC Capital Partners Ltd. became Samsonite's fifth owner in 21 years.[13][14]

On September 2, 2009, Samsonite Company Store LLC (U.S. Retail Division), formally known as Samsonite Company Stores Inc, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy.[15] It planned to close up to 50% of its stores and discontinue the "Black Label" brand in the United States.[16][17]

2011 - PresentEdit

In June 2011, Samsonite raised US$1.25 billion in an initial public offering in Hong Kong.[18]

In August 2012 Samsonite paid $35 million in cash to buy the high-end luggage brand Hartmann, which was founded in 1877.

In June 2014, Samsonite agreed to buy technical outdoor backpack brand Gregory Mountain Products from Black Diamond, Inc., for US$85.0 million in cash.[19]

In March 2016, Samsonite agreed to buy luxury baggage maker Tumi for $1.8 billion in its largest ever acquisition.[20]

In April 2017, Samsonite agreed to acquire eBags for $105 million in cash. eBags generated $158.5 million in sales in 2016, up 23.5% from $128.3 million in 2015.[21][22]

Entry into the toy marketEdit

Beginning in 1961, Samsonite manufactured and distributed Lego building toys for the North American market under license from the Danish parent firm. A licensing dispute ended the arrangement in the U.S. in 1972, but Samsonite remained the distributor in Canada until 1986. Albert H. Reckler, then head of Military and export sales for the luggage division, brought the idea of manufacturing and selling Lego in the U.S. to Samsonite. He and Stan A. Clamage were instrumental in establishing the Lego brand in the United States. This was part of an overall company expansion into toy manufacturing[23] in the 1960s that was abandoned in the 1970s.


Forty percent of all Samsonite hard luggage is manufactured at its plant in Nashik, India.[24] Samsonite has two assembly plants in Hungary.[25]

Samsonite factory in Hungary, Szekszard

Samsonite currently has a Better Business Organization rating of 'F', primarily because of Customer Service.[citation needed]




  1. ^ "Samsonite Corp 575 West St Mansfield, MA Manufacturers - MapQuest".
  2. ^ Seigel, Rachel (June 1, 2018). "Samsonite CEO resigns after falsely claiming he had a PhD in business administration". Washington Post. Retrieved June 2, 2018.
  3. ^ "SAMSONITE INTERNATIONAL S.A. : Shareholders Board Members Managers and Company Profile | LU0633102719 | MarketScreener".
  4. ^ "2011 Annual Report" (PDF). Samsonite International S.A. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 3, 2014.
  5. ^ Barreto, Elzio (June 10, 2011). "Samsonite HK IPO bags $1.25 billion after pricing at bottom". Reuters. Retrieved March 4, 2012.
  6. ^ a b Diamond, Madline (August 31, 2021). "The Evolution of Luggage: A Timeline". Travel + Leisure. Retrieved January 20, 2023.
  7. ^ Machajewski, Sarah (December 15, 2015). Colorado's Changing Cities: Then and Now. The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc. ISBN 978-1-4994-1504-9.
  8. ^ a b c Samsonite Corp. History. International Directory of Company Histories. Vol. 13. St. James Press. 1996.
  9. ^ Strom, Stephanie (September 26, 1993). "Wall Street; New Name, New Life, for Astrum". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
  10. ^ Meredith, Robyn (June 20, 2005). "Sleeker Samsonite". Forbes. Retrieved September 30, 2010.
  11. ^ "People". Forbes (profile). Archived from the original on April 14, 2009.
  12. ^ "Samsonite to Be Sold". The New York Times. July 6, 2007.
  13. ^ Clothier, Mark (July 5, 2007), "Samsonite Sold to Buyout Firm", Denver Post, Bloomberg News.
  14. ^ Clothier, Mark (July 6, 2007), "Luggage Maker Packs up Sale Deal", Denver Post, Bloomberg News.
  15. ^ "Samsonite Chapter 11 Petition" (PDF). PacerMonitor. PacerMonitor. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  16. ^ "Samsonite". Samsonite company stores. September 2, 2009. Archived from the original on August 10, 2010. Retrieved September 30, 2010.
  17. ^ "Samsonite retail unit files for bankruptcy". Reuters. September 2, 2009. Retrieved September 30, 2010.
  18. ^ "Samsonite I.P.O. Raises $1.25 Billion". The New York Times. June 10, 2011. Retrieved March 3, 2012.
  19. ^ "Black Diamond sells Gregory to Samsonite". SNews. June 19, 2014. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  20. ^ Murphy, Dan. "Samsonite to buy Tumi for $1.8 billion in its largest deal since 2011". CNBC. Retrieved January 20, 2023.
  21. ^ "Black Samsonite buys eBags for $105 million". digitalcommerce360. April 7, 2017. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  22. ^ "Black Samsonite Acquires eBags". Seeking Alpha. April 7, 2017. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  23. ^ Toys catalogue (photo gallery), Samsonite, 1972.
  24. ^ "After shoes, Samsonite plans watches, eyewear". The Hindu Business Line. September 18, 2008. Retrieved September 30, 2010.
  25. ^ "Samsonite opens second factory in Hungary". Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  26. ^ "Samsonite to acquire Tumi for US$26.75 per share to create a leading global travel lifestyle company". Archived from the original (PDF) on November 24, 2020. Retrieved March 6, 2016.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Samsonite at Wikimedia Commons